Tigers-Indians Preview

With the Tigers having long been out of the playoff race, the

only question in Detroit was whether Miguel Cabrera would win AL

MVP.

Now that could be in jeopardy in the final week of the regular

season.

A day after suffering a right ankle injury, Cabrera hopes to

avoid missing much playing time when the Tigers continue a

three-game series against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday

night.

Cabrera has struggled all season in Cleveland, hitting .217 at

Progressive Field, but Monday’s game has the potential to end a

career-best year on a sour note. The first baseman left Monday’s

6-3 loss in the seventh inning when he landed awkwardly while

trying to get back to first on a pick-off attempt. He limped from

the field and was taken for X-rays, which were negative.

“I’m concerned about it,” manager Jim Leyland said of Cabrera’s

injury. ”You could see the way he was reacting that he was in

pain. It was hurting. You don’t take any chances with anybody, let

alone him.”

It’s bad timing for the MVP candidate, who may have to play

through pain over the next few games to help his chances. Cabrera,

who had four homers and eight RBIs in his previous six games, leads

the majors with 126 RBIs, is tied for second in the AL with 38 home

runs and is third with a .328 batting average.

The Tigers (80-76) will try to bounce back after Monday’s loss

in which Travis Hafner, Matt LaPorta and Luke Carlin all homered in

the fifth inning off Armando Galarraga. Detroit had won eight of

nine coming in, averaging 7.4 runs, but has been outscored 34-15

while losing six straight at Progressive Field.

The Indians (66-91) have scored 24 runs during a four-game

winning streak, their longest since a season-best six-game run July

16-20. They’ll try to keep it up against Max Scherzer (12-10 3.40

ERA), who has won his last two starts.

Scherzer gave up two hits in 7 2-3 scoreless innings of a 4-2

win over Kansas City on Wednesday, lowering his ERA over his last

11 starts to 1.93.

“He very well could be the best pitcher in our league right

now,” Johnny Damon said.

However, the right-hander is 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA in three starts

against the Indians this season, including 0-2 with an 8.10 ERA in

two at Cleveland.

Mitch Talbot (9-13, 4.61) will counter for the Indians, looking

to avoid a third straight loss.

On Thursday, he pitched for the first time since Sept. 12 when

he left in the first inning because of inflammation in his throwing

shoulder. He gave up three runs in five innings of a 4-2 loss to

the Royals.

The right-hander is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three starts against

the Tigers this season.