By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – It looked like Miguel Cabrera’s bid for a history-making, second-straight Triple Crown would be a futile pursuit when Cabrera trailed the Baltimore Orioles’ Chris Davis 37 homers to 30 at the All-Star Game break.
Since then, Cabrera has hit 13 homers, including five in a span of six games earlier this month. Currently he is on a streak of three in the last four games. In 23 games so far in August, Cabrera has homered 11 times, a rate of nearly a homer every other game.
Davis, since the All-Star break, has gone yard nine times. Slowly but surely, Cabrera is catching up.
If Cabrera were to complete a comeback, it would not be the first time. Through 130 games in 2012, Cabrera had slugged 32 homers, but Curtis Granderson of the New York Yankees had 33, and Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers had 36. Cabrera trailed by four, just like he trailed Davis by four going into Monday’s game.
Twenty games later, 150 games through 2012, Granderson had 39 homers, and both Cabrera and Hamilton had 42. Cabrera had caught up, and he eventually surpassed Hamilton and beat out him and Granderson, ultimately winning the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski achieved the feat in 1967.
Detroit right fielder and venerable veteran Torii Hunter said that winning the Triple Crown in back-to-back seasons would be especially difficult because opposing teams make changes to specifically limit Cabrera. As well as the third baseman has hit, though, Hunter said the adjustments are had to spot because Cabrera successfully counteracts them so often.
“He rules out every adjustment that they try to make, so you don’t know the adjustment,” Hunter said. “They’re trying to come up and in, but then – boom! – he hits them to left field. Then they try to go up and away or low and away and he – bam! – hits it out the opposite park. No adjustment works because he’s going to make the adjustment right away.”
Hunter said watching Cabrera have this unbelievable season has been fun, but he is definitely aware of how monumental the numbers are in the bigger history of the game. He enjoys it, but he is also amazed by it.
“You’re always in awe and – ‘Wow.’ I’ve never said wow so much in a season with one guy,” Hunter said. “Very impressive, man, because I got a chance to see him in spring training, working his way up to who he is today, right now. It’s impressive. Impressive.”
Even in the season, in these moments, the Tigers realize how remarkable of a season Cabrera is having. They pay more attention to the numbers than he does, though. In fact, asked about whatever great moment he has most recently provided, Cabrera always deflects the question and talks about the team as a whole.
“He’s really committed to winning,” Detroit infielder Ramon Santiago said. “He doesn’t even like to talk about numbers. He’s that kind of guy. I’ve known him for a long time. But looking forward to that, everybody knows, so it’s not like, I know he’s chasing history, something never done in baseball, and that would be amazing if he accomplished that. That would be like, whew, unbelievable. He’s got the talent to do it. One guy that’s got the talent to do it, I always say, is him.”