These superstars will be in the spotlight Monday night when the Tigers look for a fourth straight victory in the opener of a three-game home set against the surprising Twins.
The red-hot Cabrera brings a 12-game hitting streak into this contest. The reigning AL MVP is hitting .420 with 15 RBIs during this run after he went 2 for 4 with a three-run homer on a 3-0 count in Sunday’s 8-3 victory over Atlanta, as Detroit (13-10) completed a three-game sweep.
“You’ve got to make sure ‘Skip’ gives you the sign to swing. That’s when you decide to swing or not swing,” Cabrera said.
Cabrera hit .380 with six homers and 26 RBIs last season against Minnesota (11-10), and went 3 for 13 with four RBIs as Detroit lost two of three on the road against the Twins to open the season.
That’s the only series so far between these AL Central division rivals, with Mauer going 4 for 13 in those contests.
Mauer, however, was 0 for 15 as the Twins split four games with Texas capped by Sunday’s 5-0 victory. It’s the first time he has gone four straight games without a hit since Aug. 15-19, 2007, and he’s never gone five in a row without one.
The team-oriented catcher, however, was more concerned with the fact that the Twins have won seven of 10 entering this 10-game trip.
“We’ve been playing good baseball,” Mauer told the Twins’ official website. “Even the games we’ve lost, we’ve been right there losing a couple one-run games. Guys are fighting, and we’re getting good pitching performances, so we’ll try to keep doing that.”
Mauer has to like his chances of ending his drought Monday since he is 8 for 20 against Tigers starter Max Scherzer (2-0, 4.13 ERA) while Cabrera is 3 for 11 against Twins starter Mike Pelfrey (2-2, 7.94).
Scherzer is tied for the major league lead with the Rangers’ Yu Darvish with 13.50 strikeouts per nine innings, and he’s 9-1 with a 2.54 ERA in his last 18 starts - including three in the postseason.
The right-hander allowed a season-high five runs over five innings Wednesday to gain credit for a 7-5 victory over Kansas City.
He’s 0-1 with a 7.25 ERA in four home starts versus the Twins. Scherzer will also have to be wary of Justin Morneau who is 5 for 10 with three homers in their matchups.
Pelfrey would have a worse record if not for a run-support average of 8.47 - the highest among Twins starters. The right-hander gave up five runs over 4 2-3 innings Tuesday in an 8-5 loss to Miami.
He’ll be concerned about facing Omar Infante who is 15 for 30 against him and 12 for 25 over his last six games.
No player in the majors has more hits out of the No. 9 slot than Infante’s 23.