Vargas has quietly had a productive season when he's been able to find playing time with a .897 OPS in 44 games. It's been hard for him to find consistent playing time with a logjam of players at first base and DH for the Twins. That's hopefully a situation that will be resolved when a new Twins GM is hired in the offseason, which could finally give Vargas a path to steady at-bats in the majors.
Austin has been sharing time at first bast with Mark Teixeira lately, but will get the nod to start and hit ninth Thursday night. For the year, Austin has posted an underwhelming .230 batting average over 27 games.
After clinching the AL East on Wednesday night, Ramirez will have Thursday off. Ramirez has dominated at the plate during the month of September, as he's posted a .323/.388/.667 line with 10 home runs in that time. Travis Shaw will start in his place at first base and hit eighth.
He hit a home run and narrowly missed hitting a second big fly in Wednesday's rain-shortened game, and while manager Brad Ausmus admitted after the game that Cabrera is hobbled by a knee issue, it seems unlikely he will miss time as long as the Tigers stay in the postseason hunt. They enter Thursday one game back of the Orioles in the hunt for the second wild card spot in the American League.
Cabrera thought his first-inning drive was gone, only to watch it hit off the wall. His fifth-inning drive, on the other hand, had little doubt, a classic Cabrera opposite-field swing toward the right-field corner. The slugger's 36th home run of the season was his 306th as a Tiger, tying him with Hank Greenberg for third in franchise history. It wound up being a game-winning deep fly as the game would end after five innings due to rain. Cabrera is hitting .400 with 14 RBI and three home runs over his last 11 games to help the Tigers stay in the playoff hunt.
It might not have any lasting impact on the playoff standings, but this one was for the ages. Teixeira is in his final week of professional baseball, and with the bases loaded and New York down two runs, Teixeira belted one 409 feet to win the game. It was his second straight game with a homer and third since Sept. 20. He is hitting .205, but Teixeira has 15 bombs on the year.
Cabrera's injury doesn't appear to be anything serious and he played the entire game (rain shortened it to five innings). Given the Tigers' current battle for a playoff spot, it would likely require a lot for the veteran slugger to miss a contest. Regardless, it may be something worth monitoring ahead of Thursday's series finale against the Indians.
Hosmer's third-inning blast extended his career-high total to 25, and pushed his career-best RBI mark to 103. The first baseman is hitting just .250 this month, but he's fairly compensated by mashing five homers, tallying 21 RBI and scoring 14 runs during September.
The rest of the Indians' regulars will return to action Wednesday after much of the team was held out Tuesday following a division-clinching win the night before, but Napoli will get a second straight day off after going hitless in eight of his last nine games. Carlos Santana will man first base for the Indians on Wednesday night.
Marte was in the depths of a 9-for-45 slump with just one extra-base hit, a double, dating back to Sept. 2. He broke out in a big way, as he also double Tuesday night and notched his first four RBI game of the season. Marte owns a .251/.307/.461 batting line and with 13 home runs in 84 games, he has shown intriguing power that will deserve watching come next season.