|Miguel Cabrera may soon have three crowns to rule them all. (US Presswire)|
By the time the Luis Mendoza takes the mound against the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Wednesday, Miguel Cabrera could have the first Triple Crown since 1967 all sewn up. Cabrera's closest competitors -- Josh Hamilton in home runs and RBI and Mike Trout in batting average, start their games before the Royals and Tigers. Still, Cabrera is in the lineup for the 8:10 p.m. ET game in Kansas City (for now).
We'll keep abreast of all the action, right here at Eye On Baseball, updating the stats after every plate appearance for the principals.
Hamilton's first PA: fielder's choice
Hamilton's second PA: single
Hamilton's third PA: strikeout
Hamilton's fourth PA: strikeout
Hamilton's fifth PA: strikeout
Final HR: 43 Final RBI: 128
Trout's first PA: Hit by pitch
Trout's second PA: Groundout
Trout's third PA: Double
Trout's fourth PA: Single
Current average: .326
Cabrera's first PA: Fly out
Cabrera's second PA: Strikeout
Current average: .330 Current HR: 44 Current RBI: 139
Heading into Wednesday's games, Cabrera looks to be in good shape to become the 15th player to lead the league in home runs, average and RBI in one season, and the first since Carl Yastrzemski accomplished the feat in 1967.
Cabrera is 4-for-11 with a home run off of Mendoza in his career. He's also hitting .441/.457/.559 at Kauffman Stadium in eight games this season and .370/.417/.603 in 45 career games there.
The only two players with a real shot at catching Cabrera in any catergory are Hamilton and Trout. Hamilton's got a little more on his plate than worrying about a home run title, as the Rangers and A's play for the American League West title. Hamilton has a hit and a strikeout in his three at-bats against Oakland starter A.J. Griffin. Trout is hitless in eight career plate appearances against Mariners starter Blake Beavan.
Let's take a gander at where we stand in the Triple Crown categories:
Trout would have to go 6-for-6 to top Cabrera, if Cabrera doesn't play. With six hits in six at-bats, Trout would be hitting .33096, while Cabrera enters Wednesday hitting .33065. If Trout goes 5 for 5, he'd be hitting .32977 and Cabrera would have to go 0 for 2 (.32958) to fall behind Trout. If Trout went 4 for 4 (.32857), he'd need Cabrera to go 0 for 4 (.32853) to win the batting title. With the difference between the start times in their games, none of those scenarios are likely to play out.
Encarnacion has seven two-homer games in his career and one three-homer game. Dunn and Granderson both have one three-homer game in their careers. It should be noted that even if Hamilton ties him, Cabrera would still be credited with the Triple Crown -- Yastrzemski tied Harmon Killebrew with 44 homers in 1967.
I won't say it's impossible for Hamilton to catch Cabrera, but only five players in baseball history have recorded 11 RBI or more in a game -- Jim Bottomley, Mark Whiten, Wilbert Robinson, Tony Lazzeri and Phil Weintraub -- and only one of those performances came after World War II. An 11-RBI game would still only tie Cabrera, only Bottomley and Whiten have 12 RBI in a game and if Hamilton has a 12-RBI game, it's likely he'd have multiple homers, pushing him ahead of Cabrera in that category as well.