Top stats to know: Tigers win AL Central

September, 26, 2013
9/26/13
12:32
AM ET
The Detroit Tigers lived up to preseasons expectations for the team coming into the regular season and clinched their third straight AL Central title tonight on Wednesday night.

The Tigers will be going to three straight postseasons for the second time in team history, the first time since 1907 to 1909.

Top stars
Miguel Cabrera followed up his Triple Crown season with another amazing year. He has a higher batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage than he did last season, the same number of home runs and only two fewer RBIs.

Cabrera is currently hitting .345 with 44 home runs and 137 RBIs. If he finishes with a batting average of at least .340, he’d be the fourth player with multiple seasons with that average and those home run and RBI totals. The other three are Babe Ruth (seven times), Lou Gehrig (four) and Jimmie Foxx (three).

Max Scherzer surpassed Justin Verlander as staff ace. He’s 21-3 this season (oddly, he’ll likely be the first pitcher to finish with a win-loss mark of exactly 21-3 since Fred Goldsmith of the 1880 Chicago White Stockings, a team now known as the Cubs).

If that was his last appearance of the regular season, then his .875 win percentage will be the best single-season mark for anyone in Tigers history with at least 15 decisions in a season.

Unsung Heroes
The Tigers got big performances this season from a pair of well-seasoned veterans, Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez. Neither was needed to carry the team with Cabrera and Prince Fielder leading the way, but each provided very strong offensive support.
Torii Hunter
Hunter

Hunter changed his approach from one that was less pull-happy and more intent on spraying the ball all around the field. The result was an .802 OPS that was almost identical to what he’d averaged in the first 16 years of his career.

Martinez ran into some tough luck early in the season, when he rated well in hitting the ball hard, but the results weren’t there. Eventually they came. He has the highest batting average in the major leagues since July 1 (.369).

Circle This Game
The biggest Tigers win of the season may have been their comeback victory over the Cleveland Indians on August 5. Trailing 2-0 in the ninth inning against Chris Perez, the Tigers rallied for four runs, capped by an Alex Avila three-run homer.

This was the ninth win in what was a 12-game winning streak that expanded the Tigers division lead from three games to seven games.

Elias Sports Bureau Stat of the Night
Jim Leyland notches his third consecutive division title with the Tigers, joining Tony La Russa and Whitey Herzog as the only managers to win at least three division titles with two different teams since the Divisional Era began in 1969.

The Tigers are also the first team to win a division clincher on the road by a 1-0 score. It’s the second time the Tigers clinched a division with a 1-0 win since baseball went to divisional play in 1969. They also did so in 1987.

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