There is now one week left in the 2012 season and Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is poised to be the first player in 45 years to capture baseball’s elusive Triple Crown.
Boston Red Sox leftfielder Carl Yastrzemski was the last player to earn the Triple Crown in 1967, and no player in the National League has won it since Joe Medwick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1937.
As of today, Cabrera has a .329 average, 42 homeruns, and 133 runs-batted-in, with seven games left to play, and is only trailing in the homerun race by one.
Much of the feat will rest on Cabrera, but he’ll also need some luck and help.
Tail End of a Playoff Race
If the playoffs began today, the Tigers would be in and play the Yankees in the first round. But no team in the AL has clinched a playoff berth yet. If individual acclaim doesn’t interest Cabrera, a chance at a postseason run should. The Tigers are currently in a dead heat for the AL Central title with the rival Chicago White Sox. Claiming the division would appear to be both teams’ best chance to make the playoffs as they are five games back from the two Wild Card spots held by Baltimore and Oakland.
Seven Games Left
The Tigers have one home game left this season, tonight against the Kansas City Royals, then have six straight road games, with three at the Minnesota Twins, before a three-game series against the Royals to close the season. Both teams have zero chance at the postseason and Detroit has had success versus both, and leads the season series with each.
While he’s been average against the Royals, Cabrera could make up ground by continuing to punish the Twins. For the season, he is hitting .403 with five homeruns and 24 RBIs in 62 at-bats.
Josh Hamilton’s Bat
Cabrera’s toughest battle will be the homeruns, as he’s already reached a career-high with 42 this season, and his previous best was 38 in 2010.
He’s going to need some help from Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who is currently in the lead with 43. Still the Rangers also have seven games left and face the Los Angeles Angels and the Oakland Athletics.
If projected rotations stay the same, Hamilton will face Angels ace Jared Weaver, who he’s posted a .200 average and no homeruns in 10 at-bats this season and Zach Greinke who he hasn't faced this season.
Lastly, in nine at-bats this season Hamilton is hitting .222 against Oakland’s Travis Blackley, and he will face him twice in the final seven games.
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