There are struggling superstars. And then there are Struggling Superstars.
Miguel Cabrera is the lower-case variety, the sort that doesn't appear in screaming headlines. Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland has said he would never consider pinch-hitting for Cabrera like Yankees manager Joe Girardi did for Alex Rodriguez in the Yankees ALDS.
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Still, after posting a historical regular season where he became the first player in 45 years to achieve the Triple Crown, Cabrera entered Game 1 of the ALCS against the Yankees struggling in the postseason.
The 29-year-old third baseman drove in only one run and hit .250 in the five-game Division Series against Oakland.
That stands in marked contrast to what Cabrera did in the regular season. With a .330 average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs, Cabrera became the first Triple Crown winner in the major league's since Boston's Carl Yastzemski in 1967, and just the 15th player overall.
Entering last night's game, he had an average of .356 with 15 home runs and 37 RBIs in 40 career games against the Yankees. He also got the first hit of the game last night when he singled to left off of Andy Pettitte in the first inning.
Yankee pitchers scoffed at the notion that Cabrera might be struggling heading into their series.
"Obviously, you have Cabrera in there and [Prince] Fielder -- great hitters," Pettitte said when asked about facing the Tigers. "Just hope you can get out there and make quality pitches. Nothing different, you know, just try to make quality pitches."
Hiroki Kuroda, who is pitching today, said Cabrera really doesn't have any weaknesses.
Said Kuroda: "I think overall, he's a well-rounded player. He could go for distance, and he also has a really good average. He's a tough out so what I'm tyring to do is minimize the damage, and I will try to figure out a pitch I can throw to him and try to be aggressive."