Miguel Cabrera: Man on fire

(Toledo Blade)

Miguel Cabrera has a great chance of winning consecutive Triple Crowns.

All-Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera is the undeniable force behind the first place Detroit Tigers. The 2012 Triple Crown winner is tearing the cover off the ball once again, and don’t look now, but this baby-faced assassin is two-thirds of the way home in completing an unprecedented run.

I believe Miguel Cabrera took the overall ho-hum reception to winning Triple Crown as an insult. In 2012, Cabrera hit .330 with 44 home runs and 139 RBIs becoming baseball’s first Triple Crown winner in 45 years. Cabrera’s numbers this year are well ahead of last season’s pace. If he’s able to catch Baltimore’s red hot first baseman Chris Davis in the home run column, he has to be favored to become only the third multiple Triple Crown winner (Rogers Hornsby and Ted Williams) and the first to accomplish the feat in back to back seasons.

Cabrera has three multi-home run games this season — including a three home run five RBI assault against the Texas on May 19th. He has seven four-hit games and six three-hit games. Through 93 games, he is batting .365 with 30 home runs and 95 runs batted in. The Tigers lead the Cleveland Indians by a game and a half in the Central Division and have fared well so far despite a sub par start by ace Justin Verlander. The 2011 Cy Young award winner is 10-6 with an ERA of 3.50 in 20 starts.

Picking up the slack has been third-year pitcher Max Scherzer — who has won 13 of his first 14 starts. Sherzer has been named the starter for the AL All-Star team.

Tag team partner Prince Fielder has taken a back seat to Cabrera, but his 16 home runs and 69 RBIs are enough to keep opposing pitchers honest. Cabrera and Fielder have combined to draw 110 walks.

Most impressive is Cabrera’s 132 hits — which puts him on pace to break the records for most hits in a season by a right-handed hitter (253 by Al Simmons – Philadelphia, 1925) and most overall (262 by Ichiro Suzuki – Seattle, 2004).

Is the snubbing of Cabrera’s accomplishments because he has great players throughout his lineup and he’s able to see his share of pitches? The looming threat of Prince Fielder’s bat alone gives manager Jim Leyland enough flexibility to maneuver his lineup ad nauseum.

If Cabrera able to win his second Triple Crown in as many seasons, pundits and fans alike will have no choice but to acknowledge his greatness.

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