CLEVELAND -- Miguel Cabrera's 90th RBI of the season on Sunday put him into yet another exclusive group. He has one week and 10 RBIs to go to make it historic.
With a solo homer and a run-scoring single, Cabrera became the 12th player in Major League history -- and the first in 10 years -- to drive in 90 before the All-Star break. Not since Carlos Delgado and Preston Wilson plated 97 and 91 runs, respectively, before the break in 2003 had anyone even topped 86.
Like this year, that 2003 season had an extended first half before the Midsummer Classic. Under a normal schedule, Cabrera would have taken his 90 RBIs into the break at this point. But with this year's All-Star Game a week later than usual, he has seven extra games to pile up some more.
A really good week would give him a chance to become just the third player in Major League history to drive in 100 by the break. Juan Gonzalez was the last, plating 101 over 87 games in 1998. Tigers Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg is the record holder, driving in 103 over just 76 games before the break in 1935.
Greenberg drove in 170 that year, the second-highest total of his career. His franchise-record 183-RBI season came two years later, and he drove in 74 over just 67 games before the break that year. He had 110 RBIs over 87 games following that All-Star Game, even though he hit for a lower second-half average, slugging percentage and OPS. By the 87-game mark, the point where Cabrera stood entering Monday, Greenberg was up to 105 RBIs.
Even if the White Sox and Rangers deny him an abundance of RBI chances, Cabrera has a chance at some more first-half standards. One of them, not surprisingly, is times on base. Between his league-leading average and his walks, he entered Monday's series finale in Cleveland having reached base safely 182 times. He's just the 19th player in Major League history to do that by the break, and he's passed Tony Phillips (181 times in 1993) for the Tigers record.
He already has the highest total by the break since Barry Bonds, who set a record by reaching base safely 204 times by the break in 2004. Frank Thomas is the only other player to top 200, getting on base 202 times in 1994.
If Cabrera can reach base even just seven times by the break, he'll have the fourth-highest total. Bonds' 195 in 2002 stands third.
Cabrera's 125 hits entering Monday is already a Tigers record, and had him tied for the 25th-best total before the break. He would need a record-setting week, though, to come anywhere close to Ralph Garr's Major League-record 149 first-half hits, set with the 1974 Braves. Darin Erstad holds the AL mark, with 144 first-half hits in 2000.
Injured ankle could land Infante on DL
CLEVELAND -- Omar Infante's sprained left ankle, an injury sustained on Colby Rasmus' slide on Wednesday in Toronto, continues to sideline him. Monday was his fifth consecutive game out of the lineup.
The way Infante sounded as the Tigers prepared to return home following Monday's win, he might have all the way through the All-Star break to recover.
"I'm thinking maybe the DL," Infante told MLive.com after Monday's win. "I'll know [on Tuesday]. I did some light running today, but it wasn't easy. I can't run or jog. I can't do nothing."
Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand confirmed on Monday that Infante's bruised left shin, which took the brunt of the damage from Rasmus' takeout slide at second base, is no longer a hindrance. The ankle problem, however, is a sprain rather than a contusion.
Infante said he'll undergo an MRI on Tuesday to help determine the severity of the injury.
If the Tigers place Infante on the DL, they can backdate the move to last Thursday, the day after the injury. The combination of the backdate and the All-Star break would mean Infante could be eligible to return when the Tigers begin the second half of their schedule a week from Friday in Kansas City.
Reed looks back on eventful callup day
CLEVELAND -- Evan Reed was getting a pot of coffee ready on Sunday morning in his apartment at Toledo when he noticed he had two voicemails and a text message. All were from Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin.
"He said, 'I hope you've got your truck ready, because you're driving to Cleveland,'" Reed recalled.
The Tigers had just put lefty reliever Darin Downs on the 15-day disabled list and recalled Reed. He noticed that message just before 11 a.m. ET. The game in Cleveland started at 1:05 p.m.
Reed didn't have to be there at first pitch to be eligible. Still, he had to haul it down the Ohio Turnpike. As quickly as he could, he readied a bag, threw his equipment in his truck and headed out.
"I went as fast as I legally could drive," he said diplomatically.
After driving around the stadium to try to find the players' parking lot, Reed finally arrived in the clubhouse by the end of the first inning. He usually tries to play catch before every game, but there was no chance of that.
If he was simply a depth reliever, it wouldn't matter anyway. But when manager Jim Leyland went to his bullpen for the seventh inning with a three-run deficit, he turned to Reed, whose scoreless inning set up Detroit's comeback in the eighth.
Had the Tigers scored one more run in the eighth, Reed would have been eligible for the win in a game for which he didn't see the first pitch. It would have been quite a cap to a crazy day.
"I wouldn't call it crazy," he said. "I would call it awesome."
And while the Tigers prepared to get out of town on Monday night, Reed was readying to drive back to Toledo to pick up his gear for the next series back in Detroit.
Leyland explains Miggy-Prince double steal
CLEVELAND -- Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder have put up back-to-back home runs a few times in their time as teammates. Back-to-back stolen bases, so to speak, is a first.
Well, that just happened.
It was a hit-and-run play during the Tigers' comeback attempt on Sunday afternoon. When Jhonny Peralta swung and missed, however, it became a double steal -- Cabrera taking third, Fielder moving to second.
"Part of the reason for that was [that] Jhonny Peralta could strike out, and he also isn't a double-play guy," manager Jim Leyland said. "If I start Cabrera [running], I know for sure he's going to score [on a base hit], and I know Fielder's going to get to third, and if he hits it in the gap, Fielder's got a chance to score.
"In this situation I just rolled the dice. There's nothing wrong or right. I said, 'Well, I'm going to gamble that they don't strike him out,' which he did. But we still got the stolen base."
There's also a message behind the move, Leyland admitted, which is a rarity for him.
"There are times in the game when you also want to send a message to your team that, 'Hey, you're not quitting this game. We're not going to lay down and not play this game out.' And I think that's very important."