Tigers' Cabrera in elite company

Anibal Sanchez lost his last outing against the Blue Jays. He was with the Miami Marlins at that...

Anibal Sanchez lost his last outing against the Blue Jays. He was with the Miami Marlins at that time. (AFP)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:07 PM ET

In 2003, the Florida Marlins promoted a rookie outfielder from triple-A Carolina named Miguel Cabrera.

Marlins broadcaster Cookie Rojas said one week into Cabrera’s promotion that Cabrera would be as good as Vladimir Guerrero.

Guerrero, whose final season was last season at age 36, had eight 30-plus homer seasons, finishing his 16-year career with 449 career homers.

Cabrera is still behind Guerrero, but he hit the 30-homer mark for the eighth season with his 307th.

More impressive is the fact that the drive made Cabrera the first in Tigers history to have five consecutive 30-homer seasons. And when you talk Tiger history we’re talking a larger sample size than, say, some franchise like the Blue Jays.

After all, Ducky Holmes and Jimmy Barrett led the 1901 Tigers with four homers apiece.

The retired numbers at Comerica Park include the likes of Hall of Famers Sam Crawford, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Harry Heilmann, Al Kaline, George Kell and Ty Cobb.

Cabrera’s was an opposite-field drive into the wind at Target Field, breaking a tie with Cecil Fielder and Greenberg for most consecutive 30-homer seasons for the Tigers.

Fielder had his streak of 30-homer seasons in 1990-93 and likely would have made it five straight in 1994 if not for the players’ strike. Fielder had 28 homers when the final several weeks of the season were cancelled.

Greenberg had his streak in 1937-40 between his broken wrist in 1936 and his entry into the military in 1941.

Cabrera also hit the 100-RBI mark for the fifth straight season, becoming the first player to reach 100 RBIs this season. The last Tiger to knock in 100 five straight seasons was Gehringer. Guerrero had 10 100-RBI seasons, while Cabrera has nine ... and he’s seven seasons younger.

Both Prince Fielder and Cabrera have started every game as they attempt to become the first pair of teammates to start all their team’s games since Mark Teixeira and Michael Young for the 2006 Texas Rangers.

The Jays face right-hander Max Scherzer Tuesday and finish with the series Thursday facing Justin Verlander. They can become the first pair of Tigers ever to each strike out 240 hitters in a season, according to Baseball-Reference.com,

Scherzer has 178 in 1402/3 innings, while Verlander had fanned 178 in 181 /3 innings.

Mickey Lolich fanned 308 and Joe Coleman struck out 236 for the 1971 Tigers.

The last pair of teammates to have 240 strikeouts in the same season were Kerry Wood and Mark Prior of the 2003 Chicago Cubs. Wood led the National League with 266 strikeouts, while Prior had 245.

ELLIOTT'S TAKE

Well, the stretch of playing division leaders is over. No more New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox or Texas Rangers — as the Jays dropped seven of 10 at home.

Now they’re on the road for a run against contending teams: First three games against the Detroit Tigers (64-57) who trail the White Sox by 1½ games and then onto Baltimore (65-55), where the third-place Orioles sit one game back of second-place Tampa Bay.

The Tigers are 34-25 at home.

PREDICTION

The Tigers will take two of three, as the Jays’ walking wounded begin to filter back into the lineup.

HOT

• Miguel Cabrera is hitting .385 (25-for-65) with three doubles, six homers and 19 RBIs this month.

• Max Scherzer, Tuesday’s starter had an 11.4 strikeouts-per-nine-innings the best in the American League. Only Thursday’s starter Justin Verlander has more strikeouts (180-178).

• Prince Fielder owns a .362 (21-for-58) average with two doubles, six homers and 16 RBIs in the month of August.

• The No. 5 spot in the Tigers order, normally home to Delmon Young, which took a .643 OPS into Sunday’s game. Jhonny Peralta, the No. 5 hitter, hit a three-run homer Sunday against the Orioles.

COLD

• Anibal Sanchez has to improve over his outing against the Jays while wearing a Miami Marlins uniform in June. He lasted only 3 1/3 innings allowing six runs on seven hits and four walks.

• Ramon Santiago is batting .122 (5-for-41) with five singles and zero RBIs since the break.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

TUESDAY 7:05 p.m. LHP Ricky Romero vs. RHP Max Scherzer

WEDNESDAY 7:05 p.m. LHP Aaron Laffey vs. RHP Anibal Sanchez

THURSDAY 1:05 p.m. LHP J.A. Happ vs RHP Justin Verlander


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