Cabrera looks to lead the Detroit Tigers to a second straight victory over the Rangers on Saturday night.
Cabrera led the league with a .330 average, 44 homers and 139 RBIs last year, making him the AL’s first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
The reigning league MVP and seven-time All-Star is already making a case for another run at that rare feat. He’s first in the majors with a .376 average - .509 with runners in scoring position - and 42 RBIs, while his eight homers rank among the AL leaders.
That offensive dominance is regularly on display against the Rangers (27-15). He’s hit .378 with 12 homers and 62 RBIs in 60 career meetings - including playoffs - and he has a .411 average while knocking in 14 runs over his last 15 games in Arlington.
Cabrera is at it again, collecting four hits with two doubles in the first two of this four-game series. One of his three hits Friday was the go-ahead double in the sixth inning of a 2-1 win after Detroit (23-17) fell 10-4 in the opener.
Despite the slugger’s staggering production, the Tigers have dropped nine of 12 in Texas, including all three while losing the 2011 ALCS in six games.
Scheduled starter Anibal Sanchez (4-3, 2.05 ERA) will face the Rangers for the first time since July 1, 2011, while with Florida. He’s 0-2 with a 7.45 ERA in two career starts versus Texas.
The right-hander, though, has compiled a 2.33 ERA while fanning 42 in 27 innings over his last four starts, splitting four decisions during that span.
He yielded two runs with eight strikeouts in seven innings of Monday’s 7-2 win over Houston.
The second baseman is a .361 hitter at home against the Tigers.
Justin Grimm (2-3, 4.28) counters for Texas looking to avoid a fourth consecutive losing start.
He’s been roughed up to the tune of a 7.02 ERA during his skid, allowing four homers and nine walks in 16 2-3 innings. Grimm had won his two previous starts, posting a 0.69 ERA.
The rookie right-hander was hit hard in five-plus innings Monday, surrendering five runs and seven hits, including a season-high two homers, in a 5-1 loss at Oakland.
“I think he has been very competitive,” manager Ron Washington told the team’s official website. “He just has to make certain he gets his pitches down in the zone. He’s got a couple balls up lately and they’ve left the ballpark.
“When he takes the mound, I feel good. He’s a young guy and he’s facing quality hitters he hasn’t seen before.”
Grimm has seen the Tigers, and it ended quickly. He was battered for six runs and eight hits before being lifted with no outs in the second inning of an 8-2 home defeat June 25.
Cabrera went 2 for 2 with a double off him.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland needs one win to become the 15th manager to reach 1,700.