It's basically a foregone conclusion that Miguel Cabrera will win his fourth batting title. A few more games against the Cleveland Indians should only help his cause.
Progressive Field has been an extremely friendly place to Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers lately, and they'll try to keep it that way Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series.
Batting titles have become commonplace for Cabrera, who won three straight from 2011-2013 before hitting .313 last season for his lowest average since 2008.
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The Detroit slugger is putting the competition to shame this season with a .351 mark, 33 points ahead of his closest pursuer - Cleveland's Michael Brantley.
A good portion of Cabrera's success this year has come against the Indians. He's batting .509 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 14 meetings, and is 15 for 22 (.682) with two home runs and seven RBIs at Cleveland.
Cabrera has hit safely in 12 straight games at Progressive Field, batting .566 with five homers and 14 RBIs. He's been a big part of Detroit's 20-6 record there since the start of 2013, including five wins in six games in 2015.
The Tigers (64-75) settled for a split of their six-game homestand with Wednesday's 8-0 loss to Tampa Bay.
It was the 14th defeat in 19 contests for last-place Detroit, which has seen its starting pitchers compile a 6.15 ERA during that span.
The Tigers have used 14 pitchers the past two games, including all 12 relievers.
''A lot of guys are getting a shot right now, and we'll see which ones take it,'' catcher Alex Avila said. ''They all have the talent to be here, but they have to hone it if they want to stay.''
Alfredo Simon (12-9, 4.86 ERA) provided one of the few recent quality starts for Detroit, limiting the Indians to two hits over seven innings in a 6-0 victory Saturday.
He is 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA in four matchups this season.
"He's done very well against us," Indians manager Terry Francona told MLB's official website. "And I'm sure confidence plays a part in it. ... We certainly follow how guys are doing, but guys with that kind of stuff, if they're commanding on that night, it doesn't matter what he did last week."
This season has been quite a roller-coaster ride for Simon, who allowed 14 runs over 9 1-3 innings in his previous two starts before Saturday's gem. He began this year 7-3 with a 2.58 ERA but went 3-4 with an 8.19 ERA in his next 10 outings and followed that ugly stretch with a one-hitter against Texas on Aug. 20.
Brantley has hit Simon well, going 11 for 20 with five doubles lifetime.
Cleveland (68-70) continued its push to reach .500 for the first time since the season's first week, beating the Chicago White Sox 6-4 on Wednesday.
Francisco Lindor finished a double shy of the cycle for the Indians, winners in nine of 10 at home.
Danny Salazar (12-8, 3.54) hopes for a better performance as he pitches opposite Simon again. After posting a 2.03 ERA in his previous six starts, the right-hander was roughed up for six runs and eight hits over 3 2-3 innings in Saturday's loss.
That was the second consecutive poor start against the Tigers for Salazar, who is 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA in the last two meetings after going 1-1 with a 2.57 mark in the first two this season.
Cabrera is 8 for 23 with two homers against him.