Leyland: It'll be Miggy's choice to play, and I'll be following Hamilton
With one game remaining in the regular season, Miguel Cabrera leads the AL in batting average (seven points ahead of Mike Trout) and RBIs (11 more than Josh Hamilton) by large margins. But the Tigers slugger, who could become the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, is just one homer clear of Hamilton.
So manager Jim Leyland has a decision to make before Wednesday's game in Kansas City.
Does he rest Miggy, who has started 160 of 161 games this season, and hope Hamilton doesn't go deep twice against the A's? Or should Leyland let the MVP candidate take the field, even though Detroit has already locked up the AL Central?
Dan Patrick got the skipper on the horn this morning for a little clarification.
"I'm gonna talk to him when he gets to the park," Leyland said. "I'd like to give him off, to be honest with you, because he plays every day."
Ultimately, Leyland said he'll probably leave the choice, to play or not to play, up to Cabrera himself.
"Whether he plays tonight or doesn't play tonight, I think he's gonna win the Triple Crown, and I think he's the MVP," Leyland told Patrick. "So that's just my take on it, and I can't really worry about what anyone else thinks."
Cabrera wasn't definitive when asked Tueday night about his plans for Wednesday, but his quotes don't sound like those of a man looking for a day off:
“I play 160 games, so one more I think isn’t going to affect me,” Cabrera said. “I’ll be ready tomorrow. It’s our goal to try to be ready to play every day, to go out there and have fun.”
Either way, Leyland will be keeping a close eye on Hamilton's progress in Oaland.
"Of course you monitor it, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to monitor it," he told Patrick. "I also looked at the scoreboard the other night when the White Sox were playing Cleveland and we needed one game. They started an hour before we did, so did I look to see what they were doing because either they had to lose one or we had to win one? Absolutely. If anyone tells you not, they're crazy."