CINCINNATI -- The Tigers ended play Monday 5 1/2 games out in the American League Wild Card race. Miguel Cabrera ended the day about four games out of the AL batting race, and gaining each day. At this point next week, he should be running away with it, putting him in position for what would be his fourth batting title in five years.
Monday's 2-for-5 performance in a 12-5 loss to the Reds left Cabrera with a .367 batting average, which would lead the Majors by 32 points and the American League by 47 if he had enough at-bats to qualify. His six-week stint on the disabled list with a strained left calf put him behind pace on the plate appearances necessary (3.1 for each game the team has played so far) to be eligible. A player needs 502 plate appearances to be eligible at season's end, which is all that really matters, but getting back on pace means the name shows up on the leaderboard.
Monday was the Tigers' 124th game. Cabrera ended the game with 380 appearances, five off the pace. If he gets four plate appearances a game for the rest of the week, he'll eligible for the race by Sunday.
If Cabrera gets the lead and keeps it, he'd become the ninth player in Major League history to win four or more batting titles in a five-year span. He won three in a row from 2011 to 2013 before his average dropped to .313 last year.
Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs each won four consecutive batting crowns -- Gwynn from 1994 to 1997, Boggs from 1985 to 1988. So did Honus Wagner (1906-09) and Nap Lajoie (1901-04). Ty Cobb's 11 batting titles included five in a row (1911-15). Rogers Hornsby won six in a row (1920-25). Stan Musial won four of five from 1948 to 1952, and Rod Carew won six of seven from 1972 to 1978, including four consecutively.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.