Miggy leads six Tigers on the 2013 All-Star team
DETROIT — Call it the Triple Crown bump.
Miguel Cabrera had never been voted to start the All-Star Game — until now.
Coming off the first Triple Crown in 45 years, though, the Detroit Tigers third baseman led all candidates in the fan voting for most of its term, easily earning the start for the American League squad.
The only starter for the Tigers this time around, he’s joined on this year’s squad by teammates Jhonny Peralta, Torii Hunter and Prince Fielder — all reserves — as well as starting pitchers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.
Six Tigers on the squad is the most in the majors, and the most for the franchise since 1984 and 1985. There could be seven, if Joaquin Benoit, one of five Final Vote candidates, gets the nod.
“We’re pretty well represented on the All-Star team,” Scherzer, who is making his first appearance, admitted on Saturday’s postgame show on Fox Sports Detroit. “It’s awesome. It’s kind of like getting called up to the big leagues.”
Tigers skipper Jim Leyland will manage the American League squad, as well. Verlander was the only member of the Tigers selected by his manager, with the others voted in by the fans and players.
Baltimore’s Chris Davis — Cabrera’s main Triple Crown competition — passed Cabrera in the fan voting right at the end, finishing with 8,272,243 votes, more than a quarter million more than Cabrera’s 8,013,874. It gives Baltimore three starters in the game for just the third time (1971, 1997).
Cabrera has gone to the All-Star Game eight times now, four times since joining the Tigers, but only started once — at first base in 2010 — but was not voted in as the starter. He replaced the injured Justin Morneau as the starter that season. He’s the first Tigers third baseman voted to start the game since Ray Boone in 1954.
Entering Saturday, Cabrera was leading the majors with 120 hits and 86 RBI. The RBI total was the most by a Tigers player through 85 games since Hank Greenberg had 100 through 85 games in his record-setting 1937 season, when he finished with the 183 that still stand as the franchise record. Cabrera’s 120 hits are the most since Al Kaline had 128 in his first 85 games in 1955.
The AL starter in the 2012 game, Verlander will be on his sixth All-Star team, but will likely not pitch, as he’s slated to pitch the Sunday before the break, while Scherzer will likely be limited to an inning or two in his first appearance.
“If I start the thing, that would be a major feat,” Scherzer said on Fox Sports Detroit.
It is Fielder’s fifth trip to the All-Star Game, and his second in as many years with the Tigers. He started at first base in last year’s game.
Peralta’s only other All-Star campaign came in 2011, when he was an injury addition to the team.
Hunter is a five-time AL All-Star, but this is his first trip to the game since 2010, the second of two straight trips as a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.