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Mike Trout home run daily: The 2012 MVP race with Miguel Cabrera

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A September 2012 home run for Trout against Justin Verlander and the Tigers, while battling Miguel Cabrera for MVP.

Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

We use a random number generator to determine which game we write about in the Mike Trout home run daily, and today was the first time we hit on another game we already wrote about. We already covered Trout’s 182nd career home run, from 2017, back on April 15. So we took another stab at a random number, and came up with something from Trout’s rookie season.

The Angels were red hot coming into the middle game of a three-game set at home against the Tigers on Sept. 8, having won four straight and were within two games of a wild card spot with about 3½ weeks left in the season.

This was also the home stretch of the first of two consecutive MVP debates between Trout and Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera surrounding the definition of value. Cabrera was battling for a triple crown, entering play on Sept. 8 leading the American League in batting average (narrowly, over Trout) and tied for the league lead in RBI, trailing Josh Hamilton by four home runs. Trout didn’t have the power numbers of Cabrera but was running neck and neck with him offensively, and provided much better defense and baserunning, leading the majors in steals and WAR.

The 2012 AL MVP race

Player HR RBI Runs SB BA/OBP/SLG OPS wOBA wRC+ fWAR
Player HR RBI Runs SB BA/OBP/SLG OPS wOBA wRC+ fWAR
Trout 35 116 89 4 .330/.395/.593 0.987 0.406 165 8.3
Cabrera 25 75 109 44 .329/.393/.563 0.955 0.414 164 6.1
through September 7, 2012 Source: Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs

The Angels also had to face Justin Verlander, the reigning AL Cy Young and MVP winner who would finish second in Cy Young balloting this season. But Trout welcomed him with a leadoff home run.

This was the 26th home run the season for Trout, and the 31st of his career.

Verlander allowed four runs in that first inning, then Trout walked and scored against him in the fourth inning. The Angels won this game 6-1, and Trout ended it in style, robbing Prince Fielder of a home run for the final out of the game.

Cabrera was 0-for-2 in this game, but would go on to win the triple crown, the first in the American League in 45 years. He got 22 out of 28 first-place votes to win AL MVP over Trout, who got the other six first-place votes.