No matter which side you fall on, you have to admit that this is a seriously entertaining American League MVP race between Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout.
The Tigers clinched the AL Central crown Monday on the strength of Cabrera’s 4-for-5 performance that included his major league-leading 44th home run of the season. Detroit’s third baseman now leads the American League with the 44 bombs, .329 batting mark and 137 RBI.
Trout’s Angels were eliminated from playoff contention when the A’s defeated the Rangers, but Trout did all he could to help keep the Halo’s chances alive at the time. Not to be outdone by Miggy’s heroics, the 21-year-old wunderkind went 4-for-5 while falling a home run short of the cycle in a win over the Mariners. All four hits came off of Felix Hernandez.
Without getting into a new school/old school debate, can’t we just enjoy two incredibly good seasons from two incredibly gifted players?
Speaking of enjoyment, that’s exactly what the tail-end of the baseball season is providing. As previously mentioned, the A’s punched their ticket to the postseason Monday and sent the Angels and Rays to an early offseason fishing trip. They also kept their hopes of winning the AL West alive. If they should beat the Rangers again on Tuesday and Wednesday, Texas would play either the Orioles or Yankees in Friday’s Wild Card game. The Rangers and Yankees possibly facing each other in the “play-in” game? It's a notion that would have seemed inconceivable not long ago.
Over in the National League, the Dodgers stayed alive by walking off the Giants Monday after the Cardinals had won earlier in the day. The Dodgers will have to win both of their remaining two games and have the Cards lose both of theirs just to force a one-game playoff to determine who will get the Braves in the Wild Card play-in. The Braves were eliminated from NL East contention when they lost to the Pirates Monday.
Tulo Won’t Return
Troy Tulowitzki will play in games this week. It just won’t for the Rockies.
Tulo had been hoping to make a late-season return to the Rockies after undergoing groin surgery back in June, but he and the team have decided it would be best if he continues playing in instructional league games rather than push for a return to the big club. The shortstop hit a home run and was tested defensively on a number of plays Monday.
"It went well," Tulowitzki said in the Denver Post.
Barring an offseason surprise, Tulo should arrive to spring training next year fully healthy and ready to bounce back from an injury-shortened season. As Troy Renck of the Post notes, teams are expected to call about the availability of the shortstop this offseason, but at this time, the Rockies have no intention of moving him.
National League Quick Hits: Corey Hart aggravated his left foot injury during Monday’s game and is likely to be shut down for the season. Hart had a two-homer game over the weekend to give him 30 bombs for the second time in the last three years ... Jaime Garcia held the Reds to two runs over 6 2/3 innings Monday. He’s put up a 2.50 ERA over his last four starts after it looked like he might be removed from the rotation ... Lucas Harrell blanked the Cubs over six innings Monday to lower his ERA to 3.76. He’s been one of the few bright spots for the Astros and is locked into a rotation spot next year ... The Padres have decided to shut Casey Kelly down even though he’s totaled only 66 2/3 innings between the majors and minors this season. Anthony Bass will start Tuesday instead ... Dan Uggla was scratched from Monday’s game due to swelling in his right hand. He’s expected to be fine ... Jimmy Rollins sat out Monday’s game with a right calf injury, and his status for the remaining two games in uncertain ... Josh Johnson was scratched from his scheduled start Monday with a hamstring injury and has been shut down for the season ... Buster Posey was removed from Monday’s game with back spasms but could return to action as soon as Tuesday.
American League Quick Hits: Brett Anderson (oblique) threw a successful bullpen session Monday and has not been ruled out as a starter for Friday’s potential Wild Card game. He’s been out since September 19 ... Dustin Pedroia has been diagnosed with a broken left ring finger and will obviously be shut down for the season. Pedroia suffered the injury Sunday when he dove back into a base ... The Twins are shutting down a host of hitters, as Justin Morneau’s (general soreness), Josh Willingham’s (shoulder) and Ryan Doumit’s (thumb) seasons are all over ... Mark Teixeira launched a two-run homer in his return to the lineup Monday. He hadn't played since aggravating his left calf strain on September 8 ... Hector Santiago struck out 10 Indians batters while tossing seven innings of one-hit ball Monday. He posted a 1.86 ERA in four starts this month for the White Sox ... Mike Moustakas has been shut down for the season after aggravating his groin injury Monday ... Fernando Rodney recorded his 47th save of the season Monday with a scoreless inning and lowered his ERA to 0.605. If he doesn’t appear in another game, he’ll have set a new record for the lowest ERA by a pitcher with 50+ innings in season ... Torii Hunter left Monday’s game due to lightheadedness, but he’s expected to be fine.