Monday, August 13, 2012

Cobra for MVP

Cabrera easily front-runner for league MVP

Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is the best choice for American League MVP. 

He is the only player in the league with a distinct chance at winning the Triple Crown, and is carrying his team toward the postseason once again.

In fact, the only serious MVP challengers Cabrera has right now are Texas Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton and Los Angeles Angels rookie outfielder Mike Trout.

The choice for the league’s top honor, won last year by Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, is determined by not only statistics but the impact a player makes on the game.

Cabrera is hard to beat in both instances.

Trout should win the batting title; Cabrera and Josh Hamilton are running away from the pack for the RBI crown. Cabrera, after what for him was a slow start, also could challenge Hamilton and Chicago White Sox slugger Adam Dunn for the home-run title.

Cabrera has a shot at becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Boston Red Sox left fielder Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. If Trout comes down a bit from his .340 through Sunday and Cabrera comes up from his .324, it could happen.

But it has been 45 years since anybody has accomplished the feat, and the odds are against him. Keep in mind, however, that Cabrera, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez are the only three active players to have won the three titles in separate seasons.

Cabrera hit .344 to win the 2011 batting title, 37 homers to finish on top in 2008 and a league-leading 126 RBI in 2010.

The only other Tigers player to lead all three categories was Ty Cobb, the 1909 Triple Crown winner.

Yastrzemski, by the way, was the AL MVP in 19667. Winning the Triple Crown would make Cabrera a virtual lock for that, too.

Great numbers get you in the conversation.

Great performances get you the award.

Cabrera’s game-winning, two-run homer in the 10th inning against the Cleveland Indians on Aug. 5 was the kind of show-stopper required of MVPs.

And he constantly picks up the club, as he did Sunday at Texas. The Tigers were on the verge of stranding runners on second and third in the fifth inning after Austin Jackson and Andy Dirks struck out. But Cabrera laced a two-run double into the corner against Rangers rookie Yu Darvish, one of the game’s toughest pitchers.

Cabrera is generally considered the game’s best hitter, and the respect he receives is exhibited in what happens each time he comes to bat in a key situation. The pitching coach or manager trots out to the mound to discuss matters with the pitcher and catcher.

The message goes something like this: “Stop hyperventilating. Take a deep breath. Don’t give him anything to hit, Meat. Hey, walk him if you have to. Want to walk him?”

Though, the intentional walks have greatly decreased with the arrival of Prince Fielder to hit behind him. And that’s significant. Cabrera could reach the 40-homer and 130-RBI plateaus for the first time — in part because pitchers must give him more pitches to hit.

The rest of the article here

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