On-Base Perception

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The most exciting race in baseball

Miguel Cabrera points to the crowd after hitting

Miguel Cabrera points to the crowd after hitting home run No. 42. (Sept. 22, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

Every morning, baseball fans check the latest standings to see who gained or lost a game in the race for a division title or wild-card berth. What's the magic number down to now? Do the teams tied right now play each other anymore this season?

Of course the pennant race is exciting. Remember the last day of the 2011 regular season, when Tampa Bay won and Boston lost within minutes of each other to give the Rays a playoff berth?

Pennant races happen every year. That's nice, but put the standings down and look elsewhere for a moment.

The most exciting race in baseball right now does not involve games won or lost. It involves hitting, homers and RBIs as Detroit's Miguel Cabrera makes a run at something no American Leaguer has done in 45 years -- win the Triple Crown.

If you think horse racing's Triple Crown is more elusive, you would be incorrect. Affirmed won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 1978. Boston's Carl Yastrzemski won the American League's Triple Crown in 1967. And he's one of just 14 people to ever win a Triple Crown, regardless of league, since 1878, compared with 11 horses since 1919.

Cabrera has competition in home runs and RBIs from Texas' Josh Hamilton, while Minnesota's Joe Mauer and Los Angeles' Mike Trout chase him for the batting title.

A look at the American League leaders in the three categories heading into Wednesday's game:

PLAYER TEAM AVERAGE GAMES LEFT
Miguel Cabrera Tigers .329 8
Joe Mauer Twins .326 7
Mike Trout Angels .324 8
Derek Jeter Yankees .321 8

 

PLAYER TEAM HOME RUNS GAMES LEFT
Josh Hamilton Rangers 43 8
Miguel Cabrera Tigers 42 8
Adam Dunn White Sox 41 8
Edwin Encarnacion Blue Jays 41 8

 

PLAYER TEAM RBI GAMES LEFT
Miguel Cabrera Tigers 133 8
Josh Hamilton Rangers 124 7
Josh Willingham Twins 110 8
Edwin Encarnacion Blue Jays 106 8

 

Is there any question as to who the American League MVP should be this season? If you say yes, there is, then go vote here. Of course, if you agree, then go vote here anyway.

Tags: miguel cabrera , stats , detroit tigers , triple crown , josh hamilton , joe mauer , mike trout

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