Tigers-White Sox Preview
Miguel Cabrera may get a well-deserved rest after cementing his fourth batting title in five years.
The slugger is not expected to play in Sunday’s season finale against the Chicago White Sox as his Detroit Tigers seek to avoid a series sweep.
Cabrera drilled a two-run homer in Saturday’s 4-3 loss, going 3 for 4 to raise his major league-leading average to .338. Boston’s Xander Bogaerts is a distant second in the AL race at .320.
The superstar rested in the series opener and likely will do so again since manager Brad Ausmus said Cabrera will likely not play Sunday.
Cabrera will become the first AL player to win four batting titles in a five-year span since Wade Boggs won four straight from 1985-88. His 1,489 hits with the Tigers are one behind Willie Horton for 13th on the team’s list.
”He’s very gifted with the bat. I haven’t come across a hitter like Miggy,” Ausmus said.
Cabrera was a major bright spot in a season in which Detroit (73-87) will finish last for the first time in seven years. The Tigers, winners of the previous four AL Central titles, guaranteed that fate after closer Neftali Feliz blew a ninth-inning lead Saturday.
Pinch hitter J.B. Shuck doubled in the tying run and Leury Garcia singled him in as Chicago (76-85) moved within one win of its first three-game home sweep of Detroit since Aug. 11-13, 2006.
"Any walk-off is fun," manager Robin Ventura said.
White Sox rookie Frankie Montas (0-1, 5.73 ERA) will make his second career start after his first one didn’t go well in his last outing. Montas was rocked for six runs over three innings Sept. 23 against a Tigers lineup that didn’t feature Cabrera.
Victor Martinez became the first hitter to homer off the right-hander, who posted a 1.13 ERA in five relief appearances prior to that outing.
”Things didn’t go like I wanted,” Montas said. ”But even though I didn’t get the win, I actually enjoyed it.”
It’s unclear if he will face Martinez, who has missed four straight games after injuring his left quadriceps Monday at Texas.
”I’d say he’s day-to-day, but really there’s only one day left, so he’s ‘day’," Ausmus quipped.
Ausmus will give the ball to Daniel Norris (2-2, 4.09), who was similarly ineffective in his last outing like Montas. Norris was charged with six runs – two earned – and recorded five outs Tuesday in a 7-6 loss to the Rangers.
The left-hander pitched five hitless innings before being lifted since he was on a pitch count in a 2-1, 10-inning win over Chicago on Sept. 22.
He’ll see a red-hot batter in Adam Eaton, who is baseball’s second-best hitter since the start of September with a .377 average. Eaton is at .400 during a nine-game streak.