Tigers chase history.
It would be so fitting if this year’s Chinese Zodiac animal was the Tiger, because that is how this season is shaping up to be remembered as, like 1927 was the Year of the Yankees. The Tigers are hot, and seemingly unstoppable. Three Tigers in particular to watch are “Mad” Max Scherzer, Miguel Cabrera, and Jose “Iggy” Iglesias. All three are prime pieces in the puzzle that could very end up being a very historical one.
Our Tigers down the stretch…
First, as of right now, while I write this, the Tigers completed a sweep of the Mets on the road. The Tigers are down to their final 32 games and have the second-best record in the majors at 77-53, just behind Atlanta, with the Dodgers still to play tonight against Boston. Sitting pretty on top of the AL Central, the Tigers are 6 games up on the Indians and 11 ½ over the Royals. It is almost Magic Number time for us, almost the time we will start to see prospects get some playing time to rest our everyday starters.
There is a lot of history that can be made over the final month of the season from the above mentioned trio of Scherzer, Cabrera, and Iglesias. The Tigers will start with Mad Max, who is now 19-1 on the season. Only two players have done that before, Rube Marquard in 1912 and Roger Clemens in 2001. Both would be in the Hall of Fame if one didn’t decide to juice towards the end. Scherzer is also trailing teammate Anibal Sanchez by .28 runs for the ERA crown and is 29 strikeouts behind Texas phenom Yu Darvish in that race. Max is already the favorite to win the Cy Young Award, why not get the pitching Triple Crown and make it official?
Miguel Cabrera. No name in baseball today is more recognizable. Last year, Miggy made history by achieving the batting Triple Crown, which hadn’t been accomplished since 1967. This year he is looking to repeat, and that has never been done before; in fact, only two players have done it more than once: Rogers Hornsby in 1922 and 1925 and Ted Williams in 1942 and 1947. As of this moment, Miggy has a 30 point lead on Anaheim’s Mike Trout for the batting crown, is 10 RBI up on Baltimore’s Chris Davis, but trails Davis by 4 home runs. But with 32 games remaining, Miggy has plenty of time to catch Davis. Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis said it best in a tweet:
“Dear Miggy, you are making the rest of us look bad. Knock it off. –MLB Players”.
If Cabrera wins a repeat Triple Crown, he is a lock for the MVP for the second straight year, unless Scherzer gets the pitching Triple Crown. Then it’s a duel between Tigers teammates. If they both get their respective Triple Crowns, it would only be the second time in history that both the batting and pitching Triple Crowns went to teammates in the same season, the other time – 1934, when the Yankees’ Lefty Gomez won the pitcher’s version, while Lou Gehrig won the batting Triple Crown.
Shall we call him Iggy or Jiggy?
Jose Iglesias was picked up to fill in for the suspended Jhonny Peralta, but do not expect to see Peralta’s return to the Tigers…ever. Iggy is batting .319/.396/.366 and has committed one error at short since coming here. There is only one other AL rookie who has a chance at beating Iggy out on the Rookie of the Year award, and that is Tampa’s Wil Myers. Iggy leads all AL rookies in batting and on-base percentage, and that is what is looked at the most among voters, along with slugging, which he is ranked 8th, but not by much. With how he has performed both offensively and defensively, expect to see him at the top of the Rookie of the Year voting.
The Big 3 for the D.
Now with that said, here is a fact. Since the inception of the Cy Young Award in 1956, no team has swept the MVP, Cy Young, and ROY awards in one season. None of the great teams in that time period: the ’61 Yankees, ’68 Cardinals or Tigers, ’70-’72 A’s, the Big Red Machine era of the 1970’s, the late 80’s A’s, even the recent Yankees run. None of these teams have swept the awards. This year, the Tigers can seal history with a postseason award sweep of the big 3.
The Big 3 for the D…has a nice ring to it. With a championship and an awards sweep, 2013 will be remembered as the Year of the Tigers in the annals of baseball history, and we can tell our grandkids the memories we will have of this magical season.
Guru’s New Addition!
One last thing: Congratulations to the Guru and his wife on the birth of their second daughter this week! You have a future pro beach volleyball team now!