All of a sudden, Miguel Cabrera is 34 years old. You would never know it by his statistical production as 2016 was another tremendous year at the plate. He continues to be the best slugger in the game who rarely gets himself out. After playing just 119 games in 2015 due to ankle and calf injuries, Cabrera stayed relatively healthy last season. He also reversed several minor worrisome trends at the plate as his isolated power bounced back to career norms (to .247 from .196 in 2015) and he hit 38 home runs to end a three-year decline in homers. While he's entering his mid-30s, his injury track record is strong, having played fewer than 150 games just once in his career. He's so good at what he does he is almost boring at this point, but spending a first rounder on him is money in the bank.
Cabrera (knee) remains in the lineup Thursday, hitting third and manning first base against the Indians. He hit a home run and narrowly missed hitting a second big fly in Wednesday's rain-shortened game, and while manager Brad Ausmus admitted after the game that Cabrera is hobbled by a knee issue, it seems unlikely he will miss time as long as the Tigers stay in the postseason hunt. They enter Thursday one game back of the Orioles in the hunt for the second wild card spot in the American League.
Cabrera went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer in Wednesday's game against Cleveland. Cabrera thought his first-inning drive was gone, only to watch it hit off the wall. His fifth-inning drive, on the other hand, had little doubt, a classic Cabrera opposite-field swing toward the right-field corner. The slugger's 36th home run of the season was his 306th as a Tiger, tying him with Hank Greenberg for third in franchise history. It wound up being a game-winning deep fly as the game would end after five innings due to rain. Cabrera is hitting .400 with 14 RBI and three home runs over his last 11 games to help the Tigers stay in the playoff hunt.
Manager Brad Ausmus indicated that Cabrera is hobbled by a "contusion" and has "got some fluid in his knee, so it's going to be sore sometimes," Matthew B. Mowery of the Oakland Press reports. Cabrera's injury doesn't appear to be anything serious and he played the entire game (rain shortened it to five innings). Given the Tigers' current battle for a playoff spot, it would likely require a lot for the veteran slugger to miss a contest. Regardless, it may be something worth monitoring ahead of Thursday's series finale against the Indians.
Cabrera went 3-for-3 with a walk, home run, five RBI and scored twice in Tuesday's blowout win over the Indians. It's tough to tell if the Indians were trying very hard after clinching the division the night before, but Cabrera certainly didn't miss out on his chance to rack up the stats. His five-RBI effort upped his season total to 102, and earned Cabrera his 12th 100-RBI season, tying him for sixth in MLB history. The slugger also passed icon Joe DiMaggio to move into 48th on the all-time list with 1,537 career RBI. Cabrera will have no reason to ease off the gas pedal in the final days of the season, as the Tigers sit just a game back from a playoff berth.
Cabrera became the 100th player in Major League history to get his 2,500 career hit when he ripped a single in the third-inning of Sunday's game against Cleveland. Cabrera is just the eighth hitter to get their 2,500 hit in their age-33 season. He joins Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, ARod, Robin Young, Mel Ott, Jimmie Foxx and Rogers Hornsby in that exclusive club. The hit came after Miggy was plunked on the right hand by Bauer in the first inning. "Sore, very sore," was Miggy's description after the game. He was seen flexing it throughout the game, but he hopes Monday's rest day will be just what the doctor ordered to be able to play Tuesday.