With the Tigers having long been out of the playoff race, the
only question in Detroit was whether Miguel Cabrera would win AL
Now that could be in jeopardy in the final week of the
Two days after Cabrera suffered a likely season-ending right
ankle injury, the Tigers conclude a three-game series against the
Cleveland Indians with a doubleheader Wednesday.
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 a 6-3 loss in the seventh inning when he
landed awkwardly while trying to get back to first base on a
pickoff attempt. He limped from the field and was in a walking boot
before Tuesday’s game, which was postponed due to rain.
Cabrera said he hopes to play in at least one of the remaining
six games, but manager Jim Leyland wasn’t nearly as optimistic.
“He’s not too good,” Leyland said. “He’s hurting. I’m not
expecting too much too soon.”
It’s bad timing for the MVP candidate, who had four homers and
eight RBIs in his previous six games. Cabrera tops the majors with
126 RBIs and is among the AL leaders with 38 home runs and a .328
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 for Cleveland. 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 in the first game 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 last 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,” Tigers designated hitter Johnny Damon said.
However, the right-hander is 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA in three starts
against the Indians this season, going 0-2 with an 8.10 ERA in two
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. Talbot 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.
Justin Verlander (18-8, 3.31), who has a 1.64 ERA in winning his
last four outings, is scheduled to make his final start of the year
in the nightcap with an opportunity to match his career high for
wins, set last season.
Verlander, who has never won five consecutive starts, is coming
off his second straight complete game, allowing an unearned run and
four hits in Friday’s 10-1 win over Minnesota. The right-hander
struck out 11 to become the first Tiger to strike out 200 batters
in consecutive seasons since Jack Morris in 1987-88.
Verlander, 5-0 with a 1.96 ERA in seven starts since losing to
New York on Aug. 17, allowed one run and seven hits in eight
innings of an 8-1 win over the Indians on Aug. 22. He is 3-0 with a
2.57 ERA in four starts in Cleveland since the start of last
Rookie Josh Tomlin (5-4, 4.50) looks to build on a strong outing
when he opposes Verlander.
After being tagged for a career-high six runs in a 6-4 loss in
Kansas City on Sept. 19, Tomlin allowed three runs and four hits in
his first complete game, a 7-3 win over the Royals on Friday. The
25-year-old right-hander struck out a career-best six while
throwing 112 pitches.
Tomlin struggled in his lone start against the Tigers, giving up
five runs and seven hits in six innings of a 5-2 loss at Comerica
Park on Aug. 21.