miguel cabrera triple crown watch.

Photo by Getty Images. No, I don’t own the rights to the photo. I make ZERO MONEY off this blog. But if Getty tells me to yank it, I will.

The 2012 American League playoff picture may look focused, with the five postseason teams already decided, but who’s playing whom has yet to be sorted out. We’ll need to wait until Game 162 to determine travel arrangements. The more compelling story for Detroit Tigers fans right now is Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown chase. He’s current sitting atop the AL with a .331 (.330645161, actually) batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs.

With one game left in the season, a lot can still happen to dash his hopes of being the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years. Namely, Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton can happen. Trout, the rookie phenom with the Angels, is currently batting .324 and still has a chance to overtake the batting title. Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is one home run behind Cabrera for the HR title. Given the fact that the Rangers are now in a must-win game vs. the Oakland Athletics for the West Division title, Hamilton will be looking to hit one or two out tomorrow.

The RBI Chase.
Is over. Cabrera’s nearest competition is 11 RBIs away. NOBODY is having a 12-RBI day tomorrow!

The Home Run Chase.
The HR scenario is pretty simple. If Hamilton hits two tomorrow and Cabrera either sits or doesn’t hit any homers, no Triple Crown.

The Batting Title.
Trout is not going to sit tomorrow. He’s already a lock for AL Rookie of the Year, and many believe he should be the league’s Most Valuable Player. If he has a monster performance in a meaningless game against the Mariners tomorrow, he could surpass Cabrera for the batting title. Let’s look at a couple scenarios.

Cabrera sits out the Tigers’ final game.
He’ll end the season with a .331 batting average (rounded up from .330645161, to be precise). Trout is currently batting .323741007. To overtake the lead from a dormant Cabrera, Trout would need to hit 6-for-6 in tomorrow’s finale. That would give him a .330960854 batting average. No, 5-for-5 wouldn’t cut it.

Cabrera plays and goes 0-for-4.
He would end the season with a .328525641 batting average. What would Trout have to do to beat him? Four-for-four would edge him just past Miggy with a .328571428 batting average. That’s right. A 4-for-4 day from Trout and a donut from Cabrera would give Trout a .000045839 edge.

What if Cabrera goes 1-for-4?
He’d be over .330 for the season and Trout would need a 6-for-6 monster game.

In summation.
It’s pretty simple. For Miguel Cabrera to win the Triple Crown he needs:
* Josh Hamilton to hit one or zero home runs against the Athletics tomorrow.
* Mike Trout to make one out vs. the Mariners tomorrow.

No matter how the season ends tomorrow, when is the last time we’ve had so much post season and individual achievement drama playing out on Game 162?

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