MLB Notebook: Miggy duels with Cobb in record books
Cabrera's OPS+ puts him in historic company among players of his age
In 1917, Ty Cobb was playing in his age-30 season, and despite the cumulative effects of having played more than 1,500 games, he did what he usually did: lead the American League in a bunch of categories.
In addition to pacing the circuit in hits, doubles, triples, steals, batting, on-base percentage, slugging, total bases and extra-base hits, Cobb also held the AL's highest OPS+ that season, a remarkable 209 -- the highest of his career.
No other player in the modern era has finished an age-30 season with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and an OPS+ of at least 200. Nearly 100 years later, another Tigers player pursuing a career high in the category is closing in, as Miguel Cabrera enters this final week of August with a mark of 202.
• Cabrera hit his 42nd home run, drove in two runs to increase his RBI total to 128 and added a pair of singles on Sunday to improve his batting average to .360.
• A Triple Crown update sees Cabrera owning a 30-point lead in the batting race over Mike Trout. Cabrera's 128 RBIs lead the No. 2 guy -- the Orioles' Chris Davis -- by 10. But Cabrera trails the AL home run leader, Davis, 46-42.
• With his day at the plate, Cabrera owns the Majors' top marks in batting, on-base percentage and slugging. Of the 14 modern-era players to claim a traditional Triple Crown, five of them also led the Majors in on-base and slugging percentage: Nap Lajoie in 1901, Cobb in '09, Rogers Hornsby in '25, Lou Gehrig in '34 and Ted Williams in '42.
• One accomplishment probably outside of Cabrera's reach is the Tigers' record for most homers in a second half. With 12, Cabrera still needs two dozen more to match Hank Greenberg's total from 1938.
• In 2010, '11 and '12, Cabrera led the AL in at least one of the big three rate-stat categories, and including this season, he owns a 180 OPS+ over the four-year stretch. For all players in the modern era with at least 2,000 plate appearances from their age-27 through age-30 seasons, that ranks eighth. The company is nice: Babe Ruth (201), Ted Williams (199), Cobb (191), Barry Bonds (191), Lou Gehrig (189), Rogers Hornsby (186) and Stan Musial (181).
OPS+: Age-27 to Age-30 Seasons
1901-2013 (min. 2,000 PA)
• The Tigers' 11-3 win over the Mets to complete a three-game sweep improved Detroit's Interleague record since 2006 to 93-50, a .650 winning percentage that is second-best in the Majors during that time behind Boston's .674.
Extras, but no extra-base hits for Cubs • The Padres defeated the Cubs, 3-2, in 15 innings on Sunday. Seven Padres pitchers combined to hold the Cubs without an extra-base hit. Before this win, San Diego had never played a game as long as 15 innings and held the opposition without a double, triple or home run. The previous longest effort occurred on July 6, 1972, when they beat the Mets, 1-0, in 14 innings while holding New York to two singles.
• Cubs batters collected 60 plate appearances without an extra-base hit. They are the second club this season to experience such a drought -- following the Marlins on June 8 (72 plate appearances and no extra-base hits) -- and the 75th team since 1916 to have at least 60 without one. The last time the Cubs had suffered through such a game came on Aug. 23, 1980, when they lost to the Astros, 1-0, in 17 innings, with 60 plate appearances and just seven singles.
• The Cubs entered the game leading the NL in extra-base hits, with 403.
Peavy silences red-hot Dodgers • Jake Peavy went the distance on a three-hitter as the Red Sox defeated the Dodgers, 8-1. Peavy is the first Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez on June 4, 1999, to earn a complete-game win on three or fewer hits in an Interleague contest. In that game in '99, Martinez threw a three-hitter with 16 strikeouts against the Braves.
• It's the seventh time in his career Peavy has gone the distance and allowed no more than three hits. Among active pitchers, those seven are tied for the eighth most. Roy Halladay leads with 15 and is followed by A.J. Burnett (12), Mark Buehrle (10), James Shields (nine) and Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee and Tim Hudson (eight apiece). Felix Hernandez, Matt Cain, and Peavy, all are tied with seven (Chris Carpenter also has 12).
• The Red Sox took two of three from the Dodgers, handing Los Angeles its first series loss since they lost two of three against the Pirates from June 14-16.
Harper chasing history • Bryce Harper went 2-for-5 with his 18th home run in the Nationals' loss to Kansas City on Sunday, giving him 40 long balls in his career. He is the fourth player in history to hit at least 40 through his age-20 season, joining Mel Ott (61), Tony Conigliaro (56), and Alex Rodriguez (41).
• Harper has 96 extra-base hits, tying Mickey Mantle and Ken Griffey Jr. for the fifth-most for a player through his age-20 season. Next up for Harper would be Alex Rodriguez, with 104.
Around The Show • Brewers right-hander Marco Estrada allowed a hit (with two walks and nine strikeouts) in seven scoreless innings and picked up the win, as Milwaukee topped Cincinnati. Estrada owns a .169 batting average-against in four August starts. The lowest mark for any Brewers pitcher in at least five starts in August is Teddy Higuera's .155 in 1987. Estrada is scheduled to pitch again on Saturday.
• Red first baseman Joey Votto hit his 20th home run, giving him his second 20-homer, 100-walk season (the other was 2011). Votto is the 23rd first baseman to have multiple 20-100 seasons, with Lou Gehrig's 10 leading the group.
• In the Rays' loss to the Yankees, Evan Longoria hit his 28th home run of the season. Longoria has hit 158 homers in his career, tying Bob Horner for the fifth-most by any third baseman through his first six seasons. Troy Glaus is fourth, with 164, and to reach the top three, Longoria would have to get to Mike Schmidt's 169.
• Alex Gordon hit his 11th career leadoff home run to tie Willie Wilson and David DeJesus for the Royals' franchise record. All 11 of Gordon's shots have come since the beginning of the 2011 season, with his total tying him with Shin-Soo Choo's for the second most in the Majors. Ian Kinsler has hit 15 in that span.
• Buehrle picked up his 10th win of the year, allowing one run in eight innings. The Blue Jays southpaw is the 10th left-hander in the modern era to win at least 10 games in 13 consecutive seasons. Steve Carlton won at least 10 in 18 straight, and Warren Spahn had a 17-season run. Eddie Plank won at least 10 in 16 straight, followed by Carl Hubbell (15), Jim Kaat (15) and Tom Glavine (14). Earl Whitehill, Whitey Ford and CC Sabathia each won 10 games or more in 13 straight seasons.