How the Detroit Tigers could use excitement around Miggy’s HR chase to lure Carlos Correa

Detroit Free Press

What a weekend.

It’s like Comerica Park came alive and Detroit Tigers fans learned how to be fans again.

Doing the wave.

Screaming like crazy.

While waiting for Miguel Cabrera to hit his 500th home run.

MORE FROM SEIDEL: Tigers fans didn’t need a home run to show their love for Miguel Cabrera

“It’s unbelievable,” Jonathan Schoop said. “It’s crazy. You know, the way they stand. Everyone on their feet with the phones out and waiting for Miggy to do it.”

On one hand, this home run chase has been fun to watch, mainly because the crowd is so into it.

But there are several ancillary benefits.

First of all, it’s showing these young Tigers what Detroit can be like when there is something to get excited about.

But there is another benefit. I think the Tigers should make a video of this weekend, capturing the excitement in Comerica and send it to Carlos Correa, the Houston Astros shortstop who will be a free agent this winter.

Show him what this town can be like.

MORE FROM SEIDEL: Miguel Cabrera’s home run chase brings excitement back to Comerica Park, and Miggy himself

Show him how much the fans are aching for a winner.

Show him the kind of support he could get in Detroit.

“I’m glad the fans care,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “We’re all into it and there is a buzz in the ballpark and we’re trying to earn our way back into being a good team again.”

As far as being a good team, the Tigers are still a work in progress, obviously. They struggled mightily Sunday, committing two errors and getting just one hit, while losing 11-0 to Cleveland.

And Cabrera went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

So basically, it was a painful day at the park, leaving everybody in wait mode.

“I can’t wait to watch how crazy it’s gonna be when he does it,” Schoop said. “It’s a special moment. Not every player can play with a guy like this. I’m lucky enough to see him every day and see how he plays.”

When will the next one come?

On Friday night, when Cabrera hit a fly ball to center field, a fan next to me said with disgust: “Freakin’ Comerica Park.”

It stands to reason that Cabrera would have more home runs if he played in a smaller park.

But I got to thinking: Has he hit more home runs at home or on the road?

And after digging into the numbers via Baseball-Reference.com, I found his stats to be amazingly balanced.

For the record, he has hit 251 homers on the road and 248 at home.

There is even balance to when he hits them. He has hit 170 homers when he’s ahead in the count, 211 when it’s even and 118 when he’s behind.

Then, I fell into a rabbit hole of stats.

He has hit 361 homers for the Tigers and 138 with the Marlins.

How many pitchers have given up homers to Miggy?

A whopping 345 of them in 37 parks.

Most of his success has come against righties (392) compared to lefties (107). But that’s not really a surprise.

And he has had the most home run success against Phil Hughes (seven), Corey Kluber (six) and Bruce Chen (five) — although all three are retired.

Where does he usually hit them?

Well, that’s complicated.

Throughout his career, he has pulled the majority of his homers: 184 to left field, 110 to left-center and 106 to center.

[ AJ Hinch: ‘We’re going to get back to’ playoff atmosphere at Comerica Park ]

But that’s not the case lately.

Of his last eight home runs, seven have been to right or right-center field. The exception was his most recent, in Baltimore against Matt Harvey to deep left-center field.

The sobering news? At least for fans hoping he does it on this homestand?

Cabrera has hit only four home runs this season in Comerica Park, although three of them have come since July 29.

So your best bet to catch a home run ball?

I’d head to right field in Comerica. Make sure you are there in the first inning. Miggy has hit the most home runs in the first inning (91).

Be ready early in the count — that’s when he does most of his damage. Obviously, Cabrera, of all hitters, has a green light on 3-0. But he’s only got two career homers in that situation. Most of his damage has been on 0-0 (108 homers), 0-1 (68) and 1-1 (57).

One other interesting tidbit? He hits more homers with two outs (186) than with one (166) or even none (147).

Over the years, Cabrera has hit more home runs in low-leverage situations (219) compared to medium-leverage (198) or even high-leverage (82) — presumably because he’s just trying to get a hit when the game is on the line.

Heaven sent?

While the intensity on Friday and Saturday was incredible, it seemed to wane on Sunday — typical of an afternoon game compared to a night crowd.

But I would guess it should pick up this week with the Angels coming to town.

The Angels are expected to pitch Dylan Bundy (2-9, 6.17 ERA) on Tuesday. Cabrera is 1-for-5 against him with an RBI. Bundy, a 28-year-old right-hander, has given up 19 homers in 84⅔  innings this season.

The big matchup will be on Wednesday, when the Angles are expected to pitch superstar Shohei Ohtani (7-1, 2.93 ERA). Miggy is 0-for-2 against him with two strikeouts and a hit-by-pitch.

The Angels will probably start Patrick Sandoval (3-6, 3.62 ERA) on Wednesday. Cabrera is 0-for-2 against him with a walk and two strikeouts.

So that’s the week to come, and it promises to be dramatic.

“I love the fact that our players are getting to witness what it’s like here in Detroit when there’s an environment like this,” Hinch said. “I’ve heard about it. People have talked about it — anybody that’s been here a long time and saw it through the playoff years. We’re gonna get back to that point and the fans are gonna love it.”

But for now, they would just take a Miggy homer.

So after digging through the numbers, here’s the ideal condition to make it happen: Hope Cabrera comes up with two outs, a comfortable lead, is facing a righty and swings on the first pitch.

That could work just fine.

Contact Jeff Seidel: jseidel@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @seideljeff. To read his recent columns, go to freep.com/sports/jeff-seidel.

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