Prince Fielder: Master of Karate and Protection

In the bottom of the first inning when Prince Fielder was batting, ESPN Radio's Aaron Boone spent a couple of minutes raving about the protection Fielder gave Miguel Cabrera this season.

Mind you, this was a moment after Cabrera grounded into a double play.

Anyway, Boone's evidence was

1. Fielder batted after Ryan Braun last year, and Braun won the MVP Award; and
2. Fielder batted after Miguel Cabrera this year, and Cabrera captured the Triple Crown.

Compelling evidence, to be sure. Of course, there are a couple of things missing from the equation:

1. Braun's been almost exactly as good this year as last year, and
2. Cabrera was just as good in 2010, when Brennan Boesch batted after him for most of the season.

The idea that who's batting behind makes a big difference in anything but your intentional walks is one of our great enduring baseball myths. The next time you see it, grab a sharp stick and poke its eyes out.

Oh, the game. Justin Verlander worked around a Seth Smith walk in, and so the score's still 1-1. Verlander's thrown 43 pitches already, which seems like somewhat more than optimal.

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