Tigers “Big Three” are stepping up at the right time

Victor Martinez, Justin Verlander, and Miguel Cabrera are instrumental to the postseason chances for the Tigers.

Victor Martinez, Justin Verlander, and Miguel Cabrera are instrumental to the postseason chances for the Tigers.

There’s a saying that goes: “Of those who are given much, much is expected.” Or something like that.

My point: if you earn a lot you can be sure you’ll be expected to give a lot. And no one earns more on the Detroit Tigers than Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, and Victor Martinez. Yes, Ian Kinsler and David Price are also paid a hefty salary, but both are new Tigers playing under contracts signed elsewhere.

Detroit entered September a few games back in the AL Central Division and on Monday night they opened a crucial three-game set at home against the first place Kansas City Royals. if the Tigers are going to outlast the Royals the Big Three of Miggy, JV, and VMart have to lead the way. So far the trio has been doing their job.

Martinez is having the best season of his career and has reached base in every game dating back to early August. The switch-hitter is lethal from both sides: hitting over .300 with power and providing protection in the middle of the lineup for Cabrera. Every VMart at-bat is a display of concentration, craftmanship, and expert skill. You don’t run to the kitchen for snacks when Martinez comes to the plate, you tap your son on the shoulder and make sure he watches a professional doing their job with precision.

Verlander had a rocky start against the Indians last week, but prior to that he won back-to-back starts in late August and followed it up with a gritty seven inning performance against the Royals on Monday afternoon. Kansas City has long been Verlander’s plaything, but he’s been so inconsistent in 2014 that there was no way of knowing which JV would show up to face them. We may never see 2011 Verlander again, but 80% of that Verlander will be just fine in most situations. His effort on Monday set the tone for this series.

The most important player on the Detroit roster is Cabrera, the two-time defending MVP. His potent bat has lacked punch this season, in fact entering September he had gone nearly a month without hitting a home run. But BAM! that changed on September 1st when Miggy hit a pair of homers in Detroit’s 12-1 laugher over the Indians. He had three hits in that game and three more the next night in another Tigers’ victory. he followed with two more the next evening and has had four more multi-hit games since. On Saturday against the Giants Miggy blasted two more homers and he hit another on Sunday in a crucial 6-1 victory over San Francisco that avoided a sweep. Cabrera was named AL Player of the Week and he seems to be in the groove. If he can stay in the groove we all know how dangerous he can be. The Big Fella is capable of carrying this team for weeks if he’s hot. Sure, his ankle is aching and he’s not fully healed from offseason surgery on his core, but there’s no time for rest, and a semi-healthy Miggy who’s hitting the ball hard is still a monster at the plate.

J.D. Martinez, Rajai Davis, and Torii Hunter had had some key hits in the first 10 days of September. Even Don Kelly has come through with the lumber. This team is starting to get contributions from several areas of the team, which is the sign of a team that’s all pulling in the same direction. Joe Nathan’s pickoff of Jarrod Dyson may be the pivotal play of this season once it’s all said and done. But even though there have been many players contributing so far in September, the Tigers’ Big Three need to lead the way.