Miguel Cabrera entered Thursday needing just one hit to enter MLB's exclusive 3,000 hit club. He exited Thursday in the same position, and Detroit Tigers fans weren't happy with how it went down.
Facing the New York Yankees, Cabrera began the game 0-for-3 after reaching 2,999 hits on Wednesday with a three-hit night. He would receive one more shot at history in the eighth inning, when a Tigers rally brought him up with two outs and runners on second and third base.
It may have seemed like a good opportunity for the former triple crown winner to enter the 3,000 club in style, but the Yankees, down 1-0, made the understandable decision to walk Cabrera to avoid a lefty-righty matchup and put the force-out in play around the diamond.
Tigers fans made their thoughts on the move very clear.
— Johnny Kane (@JohnnyKaneTV) April 21, 2022
Boos could not be louder as Aaron Boone asks for an intentional walk to Cabrera in his 8th inning AB pic.twitter.com/bqpHvJbDjE
— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) April 21, 2022
Those boos continued into the next inning, even after the next hitter, Austin Meadows, doubled to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. Cabrera himself tried to calm down the crowd, pointing to the scoreboard.
Miguel Cabrera tells Tigers fans to calm down because they have the lead pic.twitter.com/ldQ4WH6oQv
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) April 21, 2022
Cabrera would finish the game 0-for-3 with the walk and two strikeouts.
Yankees, Tigers manager react to Miguel Cabrera's IBB
Yankees manager Aaron Boone defended the intentional walk as a baseball decision after the game, citing the platoon advantage the team had with left-handed reliever Lucas Luetge, via ESPN's Marly Rivera:
"We've got a lot of respect for Meadows too, behind him. The left-on-left, I felt the matchup, I just liked it a little bit better in that situation. It came down to a baseball call for me there. Tough decision and I thought Lucas executed a pitch, got the soft contact, but [Meadows] dumped it in there. Tough call, but one I had to make."
Tigers manager A.J. Hinch also defended the decision, saying he had "zero doubt" Cabrera would be walked per MLB.com's Jason Beck:
"Boonie's obligation is to his own team and their chances of winning. He had the matchup behind Miggy that he wanted. So you could see it coming. I know our fans responded accordingly, but I totally get it."
Cabrera understood the decision, saying it was "part of the game."
All of that is pretty fair for the Yankees, though little consolation for the fans who were booing them. The majority of Tigers fans at the game likely bought tickets hoping to see one thing, and it wasn't their team beating the Yankees.
Cabrera will still almost certainly get his 3,000th hit in Detroit, his professional home of 15 seasons. After Thursday, the Tigers have a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies remaining in their homestand.