Homer, ERA titles up for grabs this weekend

NL batting race going down to wire; RBI leads secure

Homer, ERA titles up for grabs this weekend

Over the final weekend of the regular season, the playoff picture will come into clear focus, but there also are individual honors to chase.

With three games remaining for each team, here is a look at where things stand and where they might go for each league's three "Triple Crown" hitting and pitching categories.

• Injuries have limited Miguel Cabrera to 118 games this season, but the Tigers first baseman still has a commanding lead for the AL batting title. Cabrera is hitting .334 heading into Detroit's three-game series against the White Sox, while Xander Bogaerts -- who turned 23 on Thursday -- will carry a .322 average into Boston's three-game set at Cleveland.

• The Mariners' Nelson Cruz has a shot to win back-to-back AL home run crowns for two different teams. After he slugged 40 for the Orioles last year, Cruz has 44 in 2015, one behind former teammate Chris Davis. But he faces the A's this weekend at home, where he has collected only 17 of his big flies. Davis gets the Yankees at Camden Yards, where he has gone deep 27 times, including twice in the second game of Baltimore's doubleheader against Toronto on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson and the Angels' Mike Trout both have 41 and would need to go on a major binge over the final few games.

• On the other hand, Donaldson has the RBI title more or less sewn up. The AL MVP candidate has drive home 123 runs, 10 more than teammate Jose Bautista and 11 more than Davis. Another Jay, Edwin Encarnacion, is in fourth with 108.

• The NL batting race has been neck-and-neck of late. Slumps have been few and far between for MVP frontrunner Bryce Harper this season, but his average has dipped from .343 to .331 following a 4-for-30 stretch. The Marlins' Dee Gordon entered Thursday at .331 and had a chance to take over the lead but went 0-for-4 to drop to .329. Gordon, who also needs one steal to tie the injured Billy Hamilton for the Major League lead (57), finishes his season with three games at Philadelphia. Harper will try to pull out of his mini-slump at Citi Field against the Mets, who have held him to a .250 average this season, easily the lowest among NL East opponents.

• Harper, despite a 10-game homerless streak, also enters his final series locked in a three-way battle with a pair of Rockies for the NL lead. Harper has gone deep 41 times, tied for the top spot with Nolan Arenado and one ahead of Carlos Gonzalez. The fact that Colorado finishes on the road at San Francisco would seem to work against Arenado and Gonzalez, but Arenado -- who had 11 homers in September -- actually has hit 21 bombs away from Coors Field. Gonzalez, on the other hand, has notched just 13 on the road.

• There's no doubt Arenado will finish first in RBIs, considering his 127-107 lead over Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt.

• With the Mariners' Felix Hernandez (18 wins) shut down and the Blue Jays' David Price (18) waiting for Game 1 of the Division Series, the AL wins title comes down to a pair of Astros teammates. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (19) is guaranteed at least a tie with righty Collin McHugh (18), and he'll have a chance to clinch sole possession of the top spot when he faces the D-backs on Friday at Chase Field. If he doesn't secure the victory, McHugh can match him in the second game of the series on Saturday. Of course, with Houston battling to secure a playoff spot, both figure to have bigger goals in mind.

• Price's AL lead in ERA currently comes down to two-hundredths of a point over Keuchel, 2.45 to 2.47, so it all will come down to how Keuchel pitches on Friday. A scoreless outing will push him below Price, and if he allows one earned run, he will need to throw at least 5 2/3 innings. However, if Keuchel surrenders two earned runs, a nine-inning effort would leave him in second by a tiny fraction, 2.4508 to 2.4510. For what it's worth, Arizona scored two earned runs in six innings off Keuchel on Aug. 1 in Houston. More importantly, Keuchel's road ERA (3.82) is more than two runs higher than his mark at home.

Chris Sale of the White Sox has 267 strikeouts, 18 ahead of the Rays' Chris Archer. He also is scheduled to start against the Tigers on Friday at U.S. Cellular Field, needing three strikeouts to break Ed Walsh's single-season franchise record of 269 set way back in 1908.

• The Cubs' Jake Arrieta already has locked up the NL wins title, leading the Pirates' Gerrit Cole, 21-19. Coincidentally, the two are likely to face off in Wednesday's NL Wild Card Game.

• Arrieta (1.82) also has a chance to take over first place in ERA, surpassing fellow Cy Young Award candidate Zack Greinke (1.68). Arrieta has lowered his from 2.62 over his last 11 starts, in which he has allowed a total of four earned runs over 82 1/3 innings. That includes a three-hit shutout on Sept. 22 against the Brewers, the team Arrieta will oppose on Friday at Miller Park.

Arrieta's workload could be a bit limited, considering the looming Wild Card Game, so let's say he is able to throw seven scoreless innings. That scenario would put a bit of heat on Greinke, who could lose his lead on Saturday against the Padres by allowing four earned runs, or allowing three in five innings or fewer. Of course, Greinke has a 1.48 ERA at home this year, as well as a 1.26 mark in four meetings with San Diego.

Clayton Kershaw is going to finish with the most strikeouts in the NL. For Greinke's teammate and fellow Cy Young Award candidate, the only question is if he'll rack up the six he needs against the Padres on Sunday to reach the 300 plateau.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.