|ESPN.com: Buster Olney||[Print without images]|
|This season Dustin Pedroia has been surrounded by teammates who, like him, are baseball junkies.|
"I think we're on our way," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's getting better. You still want more. But it's getting better.Ben Zobrist was given a day off.
"What I'm starting to see is a greater looseness about the group. I think they're starting to relax a bit, which is good. And once they do that we're going to start playing our typical game."
Matt Moore, who worked three sharp innings before the rain, said it's obvious the mood has improved with the results, It certainly seemed that way before the game, as much of the team gathered in the clubhouse to watch the Alabama-Texas A&M football game and again after for the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez fight.
"The overall demeanor in the clubhouse, the energy in the air, it's a lot better to be around," Moore said. "It's a lot easier to smile. It's a lot easier to cut up and be yourself."
Oh, it’s painful to watch at times, and Cabrera was hitting .194 in his last 11 games before Friday night. He hadn’t collected an extra-base hit since Aug. 26 until he laced a Bruce Chen pitch to the right-field wall for a double. Prince Fielder followed with a two-run home run for a 3-1 lead, and another threat was averted.
Leyland has rested Cabrera occasionally, and the Tigers see subtle signs of improvement. He took extra batting practice Friday and sounded a bit more positive.
“I feel better, hopefully I can produce,” Cabrera said. “For sure, I want to be out there.”