Detroit Tigers: 73-51, 1st Place (6.5 ahead of Cleveland). Best record in the AL.
Taking 3-of-5 from Kansas City was nice (sorry, Cleveland, but KC seems the the bigger threat right now), but after being swept in both games of the double-header–and held to 1 run and 6 hits–it was very nice indeed. All the better that the two series ending wins were driven off the bat of Miguel Cabrera, in back-to-back pitches ending Saturday’s game and beginning Sunday’s.
How good is Cabrera anyway? Lee Panas suggests the talk of the possible Triple Crown actually undersells how good a season he is having–whether he wins or not, his season is better than most Triple Crown seasons have been. Jason Beck points out that if his season ended today that he would have an historic season under his belt. Only 16 other people in baseball history have had a season batting .360 with 40+ home runs and 120+ RBI, and Babe Ruth is 6 of them. If he continues on the pace he is at, he would finish over .360 with 50 HR and 150 RBI, which has only been done twice, by Babe Ruth in 1921 and Jimmy Fox in 1932.
Is there any chance he could continue at this pace? Oh, he is just warming up. Here are Cabrera’s month-by-month OPS numbers:
Fasten your seat belts.
This is not to say that everything is roses in Tigerland. Despite his ridiculously hot bat, Miguel Cabrera is playing hurt, with multiple injuries. His inability to move in the field and inability to run the bases (congratulations Victor, you are now no longer the slowest guy on the team) have already cost the Tigers a couple of runs (we’ll take it). I predict he will get some rest after September call-ups.
Alex Avila’s health is also a concern. The good news is, that Avila has been cleared for workouts, and will take BP and run drills today.
Detroit looks to keep rolling with 3 against the Minnesota Twins, before going on a weird 3-game road trip against the Mets, and then back home. Tonight features Mr. 2nd Half Rick Porcello (5-0, 2.84 since the break), who will have to solve Josh Willingham (.438 lifetime against Porcello).
And a tip of the cap across the diamond to Mr. Joe Mauer. Miguel Cabrera isn’t the only one playing today who is compiling a pretty darn good career. Mauer is still doing it, and doing it on a team that that is OK on its good days, depressing on others. The Twins were awful in July (9-17), during which time Mauer merely hit .360. He just doesn’t give away at bats. After 10 years as a career .323 hitter, he is hitting .324 this season, mostly at catcher, on a team eliminated from contention roughly in May. [Tip].
[Update: Mauer scratched with dizziness in BP–he has been taking a lot of foul tips lately, like Alex has. Let’s hope they are both OK].
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Omar Infante. Omar returns to the lineup with a 15-for-34 lifetime vs. Pelfrey in his back pocket.
Today’s Infantastic Lineup:
Omar Infante is back after a day off with back stiffness. I am liking how the Infante-Pena-Iglesias bottom of the order is coming together.