Currently Historic: A new contender emerges

Welcome to the penultimate edition of our little column.

So, as you are likely aware, I took last week off because things were winding down and it didn’t look like anything new was going to pop up. And then, all of a sudden, we have a contender for the triple-freaking-crown. Baseball is weird.

So let’s talk about Miguel Cabrera. Earlier this year, we watched him get to 300 home runs, but he wasn’t exactly a big feature here because, while he’s always good, he’s never had a season that was exceptional in an historic way. Which is funny, because unless he stops playing baseball like, tomorrow, he’s going into the Hall of Fame. What we’re seeing from him right now is simply an excellent player hitting his peak. This is his age-29 season. It’s not surprising that he’s having a good year. It is surprising that he has a shot at the triple crown because, well, that’s just strange.

But can he do it? With a week to go, the answer is probably not. As I write this, he leads the league in average and RBIs but is second to Josh Hamilton in home runs. The RBI title is probably wrapped up (he leads Hamilton by nine), but he’s just a few points ahead of Mike Trout for the batting average title. So to win, he has one week to out-homer Hamilton and he can’t let the batting average slip. I’d give him about a 25 percent chance. Not an overwhelming chance, but a good chance. I certainly hope he pulls it off just because it hasn’t happened in a really long time.

Adam Dunn has come back and played well/poorly enough to still be worth paying attention to. Right now, he’s on pace to finish two short of the single season strikeout record, but two strikeouts for Adam Dunn is like a THT Live post for Chris Jaffe. That is, you’re more surprised when it doesn’t happen than when it does.

As for the TTO record, that’s chase is over. He currently sits at 342. A fine total. But to get to the record, he would pretty much have to avoid putting the ball in play for the rest of the season. Similarly, his 57 percent TTO rate, while certainly impressive, isn’t quite historic. Still, you never know. A lot can happen in a week. Hey, if he can out-thump Cabrera, Hamilton and Edwin Encarnacion, he could still manage the TTO triple crown, which I think would be cooler than the real triple crown.

Albert Pujols has reached 500 doubles, but he is going to need one heck of a final week to crank out nine more extra base hits to get to 1,000.

One week left, and Craig Kimbrel will be pretty much the most striking-outest pitcher ever. He currently sits on 16.23 per nine innings.

Jimmy Rollins, congratulations. You have swiped four bags in the last two weeks, and finally made it to 400. Well done.

Alex Rodriguez now needs to only three RBIs to pass Stan Musial for sixth all time. He is also now 10th all time in runs scored. He needs just three extra base hits to be eighth on his own and five to be sixth on his own.

Derek Jeter now has the 11th most hits ever and has scored the 13th most runs.

R.A. Dickey got a miracle. Clayton Kershaw got hurt, and Dickey now trails him by only two strikeouts. This one is going to be interesting.

Ryan Howard made it to 300 homers.

Okay, that’s it for this week. Tune in after the season for our exciting conclusion and wrap-up.

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Jason teaches high school English, writes fiction, runs a small writing program and writes about education and literature. He also writes for Redleg Nation and both writes and edits for The Hardball Times. Follow him on Twitter @JasonLinden, visit his website or email him here.
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Joe Mauer is also in the AL batting title chase; he’s tied with Trout for second.  I’d give Mauer a better chance to catch Cabrera simply because he hits all the time every year and Trout is only hitting .274 since August 1.

Paul G.
Paul G.

If Mauer would win the batting title, that would be his fourth, wouldn’t it?  I think Mauer is the only catcher to win it 3 times.  I wonder how many players have won 4 or more?

Hank G.
Hank G.

Dickey struck out 13 in his start today, so I think he’s got to be the favorite now.

I don’t know how worth tracking this is, but Miguel Cabrera has a chance at a 45/140/.330 season.  Here are all the times it’s happened in ML history: Babe Ruth, 1921:  59/171/.378 Babe Ruth, 1926:  47/146/.372 Lou Gehrig, 1927: 47/175/.373 Babe Ruth, 1927:  60/164/.356 Babe Ruth, 1929: 46/154/.345 Babe Ruth, 1930:  49/153/.359 Hack Wilson, 1930: 56/191/.356 Babe Ruth, 1931:  46/163/.373 Lou Gehrig, 1931: 46/184/.341 Jimmie Foxx, 1932:  58/169/.364 Jimmie Foxx, 1933: 48/163/.356 Lou Gehrig, 1934:  49/165/.363 Lou Gehrig, 1936: 49/152/.354 Joe DiMaggio, 1937:  46/167/.346 Jimmie Foxx, 1938: 50/175/.349 Hank Greenberg, 1938:  58/146/.340 Todd Helton, 2001:  49/146/.336 You’ll also notice that… Read more »

@Paul G.

It’s more than you might think.  Here’s the list:

Roberto Clemente, 4
Harry Heilmann, 4
Bill Madlock, 4
Wade Boggs, 5
Dan Brouthers, 5 (one in the American Association)
Nap Lajoie, 5
Ted Williams, 6
Rod Carew, 7
Rogers Hornsby, 7
Stan Musial, 7
Tony Gwynn, 8
Honus Wagner, 8
Ty Cobb, 11

Four batting titles would be impressive, indeed, but there’s one non-HOF player on that list.  It’s at 5 that we get to the all-HOF club, it seems.

Brian Standing
Brian Standing

Dickey has an outside shot at the pitcher’s triple crown.  Currently Dickey is at:

20 wins, 1 behind the NL leader, Gonzalez
2.69 ERA, .11 behind Kershaw
222 strikeouts, 1 ahead of Kershaw

Tomorrow night, Dickey pitches against the Marlins, while Gonzalez has the Phils.
Kershaw goes Wednesday against the Giants.

Interesting, indeed.