Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Move over Yaz, here comes Miggy
By ESPN Stats & Information
Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesIt’s been 45 years but we could finally have our first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski.
Miguel Cabrera hit his 40th home run of the season, a new career high.
Miguel Cabrera leads the American League in RBI and batting average and is tied for second in home runs, just two behind Josh Hamilton.
Cabrera’s two homers on Tuesday give him 40 for the season, a new career high. He’s the first Tigers player with 40 homers in a season since Cecil Fielder in 1991.
Cabrera’s first homer went 446 feet, his ninth home run of 440 or more feet this season, the most in the majors.
The home run came off a pitch in the "middle-middle" part of the zone, an area in which he has feasted on pitches this season. Cabrera is 39-for-65 (.600 BA) with 12 HR in at-bats ending with a "middle-middle" pitch, both bests in the majors. In addition, the homer came off a 68 MPH curveball, the slowest pitch he has hit for a home run in the last four seasons.
His second homer was a grand slam, the Tigers' first of the season. They were the only team yet to hit one this season.
His six RBI give him 129 for the season, also a career high. Cabrera is the second player in Tigers history with three separate seasons of at least 125 RBI, joining Hank Greenberg, who had six such seasons.
Assuming his .333 BA doesn’t drop below .300, Cabrera will become the first Tigers player to hit .300 with at least 40 HR and 125 RBI since Norm Cash in 1961.
LOOKING AHEAD TO WEDNESDAY: VERLANDER HEATING UP
Justin Verlander takes the mound for the Tigers on Wednesday at 7 ET on ESPN.
With a win, Verlander would become the only pitcher with at least 15 wins in each of the last four seasons.
Verlander has more wins and strikeouts in September than any other pitcher since 2010. He is 10-2 with a 2.64 ERA and 103 strikeouts in those starts.
While most pitchers decrease in velocity late in the season (the league average fastball velocity for September is the lowest for any month this season among pitchers with at least 100 fastballs), Verlander has not. Verlander’s average fastball velocity was between 93.6 and 94.1 MPH in each calendar month this season through August. In September, his fastball is averaging 95.8 MPH, the highest of any pitcher with at least 150 pitches.
His fastball has averaged at least 95 MPH in only five starts this season. Three of them were his last three starts.
In Verlander’s only start against the Athletics this season, he allowed one run on two hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts and one walk in a win on May 13.