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Detroit at St. Louis Preview: Eyes on the future

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Meanwhile, Miggy continues his trek toward 3,000 hits.

Detroit Tigers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

We finally got there. After sitting on 499 homers for what felt like forever, Miguel Cabrera finally launched No. 500 on Sunday, further cementing his legacy among some of the game’s greatest ever hitters. His quest now turns to 3000 hits (more on that later), but this was a huge weight off his chest.

For the Tigers, the attention also turns to the future. 2021 was never about competing, and while Cleveland sits just three games ahead with plenty of time remaining, earning second place in the division is more about feeling good than anything actually tangible. But as Cabrera finally accomplishes some of his career milestones, the page is quickly turning to what lies ahead for the organization.

Much of that conversation begins with Tuesday’s starter, Casey Mize. His progression over the next few years will play a large impact on the ultimate success of the rebuild, and this season should give hope to that idea. However, his last three outings have been less impressive, as Mize has allowed nine earned runs — and six homers — over just 13 13 innings. With September quickly approaching, the 24-year-old’s season could be soon ended.

Detroit Tigers (60-66) at St. Louis Cardinals (63-60)

Time/Place: 7:45 p.m., Busch Stadium
SB Nation site: Viva El Birdos
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Casey Mize (6-6, 3.69 ERA) vs. RHP Jack Flaherty (9-1, 2.68 ERA)

Game 142 Pitching Matchup

Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Boyd 78.2 19.9 6.8 4.09 1.5
Wacha 100.2 22.4 5.9 4.80 0.6

Might as well throw out 2020 for Jack Flaherty (and basically everyone). While the walks and homers were slightly up for the Cardinals youngish starter, he still stuck out 10.9 batters per nine innings and had plenty of velocity. The short season was weird for everyone, and he is proving that his 4.91 ERA was more of a fluke than a sign of what is to come.

Flaherty missed all of June and July with an oblique strain but has given up just two runs in 12 innings since. He enters Tuesday with a 2.68 ERA, which tracks with his 2018 (3.34) and 2019 (2.75) numbers. The 2014 comp-round pick is establishing himself as a legitimate presence on the mound and striking out over a batter an inning for the fourth straight year.

Key matchup: Miggy vs. 3000

Cabrera now sits at 2955 total hits in his career. The Tigers have 36 games left on the schedule, starting with St. Louis, though he certainly will not appear in all of them. Time for some math! Since June, Cabrera is averaging:

  • 4.10 plate appearances per game
  • .251 hits per plate appearance (remember: walks = bad!)

That means, he would need around 179 plate appearances to get 45 more hits, which would take around 44 games at his current pace. Cabrera will have to go on a tear to reach his second huge milestone of the season.