When the Cleveland Guardians take the field against the Detroit Tigers this weekend, history will be on the line. This will officially be the last matchup between these two teams before Cleveland’s rebrand, and more importantly, there’s a good chance Miguel Cabrera joins the 500 home run club.
Detroit, like Cleveland, probably isn’t going to the playoffs. They slipped into second in the AL Central by virtue of having more wins (both teams have a .487 win percentage, but Detroit has played four more games), but they aren’t chasing the White Sox down any time soon. Miguel Cabrera making history will be their big moment this season.
Miggy sits at a convenient 499 home runs to start the Tigers’ six-game homestand. Only 50 of those have come against Cleveland, but it feels like a lot more as he’s been a certified Cleveland killer over his 19-year career, especially since arriving in Detroit. His career slash against Cleveland pitching sits at .315/.392/.539 (147 wRC+). With runners in scoring position, he raises that wRC+ to 161 to go with his 17 home runs, 117 RBI, and eight doubles.
Clutch may or may not be a skill, but Cabrera has always found an extra gear when he’s playing the Guardians with a chance to drive in runs. He’ll be looking to tap into that gear to become the 28th player in the 500 home run club. When he does, he’ll join some legendary names such as Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Eddie Murray, and some other guys you might have heard of.
Cabrera has 12 home runs on the season, which matches his highest total in the last four seasons. His last homer came on Wednesday against the Orioles.
Cleveland will be hoping that Zach Plesac can regain what made him so special last season and that Triston McKenzie can continue to build off some recent successes. The bullpen was taxed, battered, and beaten in the series against the A’s, culminating in a 17-0 trouncing on Thursday. If Plesac, McKenzie, or whoever pitches on Saturday can’t rack up some big innings, Miguel Cabrera may have his sights set on 500 sooner rather than later.
Team at a glance
- Record: 57-60 (10th in AL)
- Runs Scored: 518 (9th in AL)
- Run Differential: -40 (8th in AL)
- Last 10: 7-3
- Slash: .242/.311/.402
- wOBA: .309 (10th in AL)
- wRC+: 94 (10th in AL)
- ERA: 4.46 (9th in AL)
- SIERA: 4.46 (14th in AL)
- K-BB%: 11.8% (15th in AL)
Friday, Aug. 13, 7:10 p.m. ET: LHP Tyler Alexander vs. Zach Plesac
Saturday, Aug. 14, 6:10 p.m. ET: RHP Wily Peralta vs. TBD
Sunday, Aug. 15, 1:10 p.m. ET: TBD vs. Triston McKenzie
2B, Jonathan Schoop - Jonathan Schoop is quietly turning in another solid season for the Tigers. He’s slashing .288/.333/.463 on the season and leads Detroit with eight hits over the last week.
3B, Jeimer Candelario - Jeimer Candelario has been equally impressive over the last week, with seven hits, four doubles, and a homer; he’s also sporting a 119 wRC+ on the season. He’s still a ways off from his flukey 19-homer season in 2018, but his eight home runs ties the second-most he’s ever hit in a season with a little less than two months left to go.
How many games will the Guardians win against the Tigers?
This poll is closed
Bonus question: Who will give up the 500th home run to Miguel Cabrera?