Twins-Tigers Preview

While Miguel Cabrera won’t let a few nagging injuries slow him

down, Justin Verlander should be more than ready to continue his

recent dominance of the Minnesota Twins.

As Cabrera deals with his ailing body, Verlander looks to avoid

a third straight winless outing Thursday against the visiting

Twins.

Plagued by groin, abdominal and hip issues, Cabrera still

delivered a three-run double in the eighth inning Wednesday to help

Detroit (74-52) even this three-game set with a 7-1 victory.

“I was pleased with his health,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland

said.

Cabrera leads the majors with a .358 average and has recorded

eight of his major league-leading 123 RBIs in the last four games.

However, with the Tigers boasting a 5 1/2-game lead in the AL

Central, there’s a chance he could be rested for this day game

following a night contest.

“We may have to give him days here, days there, and then we have

the comfort to give him three or four days – obviously we do and we

have,” head athletic trainer Kevin Rand told the Tigers’ official

website.

The Tigers aren’t lacking for support.

Austin Jackson is 7 for 14 in three games since he endured a

1-for-24 stretch. He’s 9 for 19 in his last four versus

Minnesota.

Verlander (12-9, 3.51 ERA) is 0-1 in his last two starts, but he

allowed two runs in eight innings of a 2-1 loss to Kansas City on

Friday.

“I feel that my stuff has been better, specifically my breaking

ball,” he said. “I’m definitely happy where I’m heading going into

the last month of the year and hopefully the postseason.”

Facing Minnesota (55-70) could make Verlander feel even better

about himself.

Since losing 2-0 to the Twins at Comerica Park on April 27,

2010, Verlander is 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA in his last 10 against them

– his longest current winning streak against any club.

The Tigers have won each contest, and he’s allowed one run and

nine hits while striking out 15 in 12 innings to win both 2013

starts versus Minnesota.

Verlander won’t face Twins star Joe Mauer – batting .371 with

three homers against him – since he’s on the 7-day disabled list

with a concussion.

Ex-Tiger and current Minnesota outfielder Wilkin Ramirez is 2

for 3 with a double versus Verlander, and 7 for 17 in his last five

games.

Justin Morneau is 6 for 9 in the series, but 3 for his last 22

against Verlander.

Losers in seven of nine, the Twins hope rookie Andrew Albers

(2-1, 1.85) can bounce back from his first career loss.

The left-hander did not allow a run over 17 1-3 innings of his

first two major league starts before he yielded five in seven

innings of an 8-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

“The streak was great while it was going on,” Albers said. “It

was awesome to have those two nights. They’re pretty special, and

who knows if that will ever happen again.

“You see how quickly things can change, and it’s one of those

things where you’ve got to get some breaks for it to happen like

that.”