"If we have choice, probably put him on first," said Rangers backup catcher. "There's a dangerous guy on deck, too [Victor Martinez], but Cabrera right now is the one that's hurting us."
Catcher Mike Napoli has a pretty good idea of the best situation in which to face Cabrera.
"I'd like to pitch to him with the bases empty, I'll tell you that," Napoli said.
All the better to walk the big man.
That's what Rangers manager Ron Washington ordered reliever Mike Adams to do in the eighth inning of Game 4. The bases were empty with one out and the game was tied. The move nearly backfired after Martinez singled to advance Cabrera to third. But, right fielder Nelson Cruz threw out Cabrera trying to score tagging up on Delmon Young's fly ball.
Cabrera is 6-for-16 in the series with four doubles. He's walked seven times, twice intentionally, and five RBIs. Of course, one of those doubles was his sixth-inning grounder in Game 5 that found third base and caromed over the head of third baseman Adrian Beltre into left field for to score the go-ahead run. It ignited a four-run inning that forced the series back to Texas.
"I don't think you have a certain way to pitch to him," Washington said. "I don't think [Thursday] he needed any luck trying to get base hits. He hits one down there for the possible double play and it hit the bag. So, you just have to try to make your pitches and hope that he doesn't do it in situations where he can hurt you and he keeps the ball in the ballpark. That's all we can do."
In other words, if the bases are empty regardless of the number of outs, expect the Rangers to strongly consider putting Cabrera on. If Cabrera comes up with a runner on second or third or both, expect the Rangers to strongly consider putting him on.
"Once again," Washington said, "if the opportunity presents itself that we feel like his swing of the bat can hurt us, we won't let him swing it."