- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
It was a slow Friday night for Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout, relatively speaking. Cabrera had a single and two RBIs, and Trout had two hits and a walk and scored twice. Cabrera’s batting average stands at .388, and Trout has an OPS of .963, and in pitchers’ meetings, in mound conferences, in conversations in the dugout, in the scouting section, the same question is being asked:
How do you get these guys out, especially when they’re rolling, when they’re swinging the bat well?
About Cabrera, one scout said, “You’ve got to be willing to pitch in off the plate. You’ve got to be willing to show him that you’ll hit him. You’re not throwing at him, but you’ve got to pitch far enough in that you can miss off the plate. It’s a lot like pitching to Manny Ramirez.
About Trout, another scout said: “If you get him to two strikes, he’ll expand the strike zone. He’ll chase pitches up.”
As the scouts talk, however, they sound as if they’re making plans to break into a Las Vegas vault because they qualify their words with warnings: If you make mistakes, you’ll pay for them.