Gardenhire hopes team can limit Miggy's damage

Gardenhire hopes team can limit Miggy's damage

Gardenhire hopes team can limit Miggy's damage
DETROIT -- One way or another, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire knows Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is going to have an impact on their three-game series in Detroit. He just hopes his pitching staff can limit the damage.

And for the skipper, that starts with effectively pitching to the Tigers' No. 1 and 2 hitters -- which in the series opener, were outfielders Austin Jackson and Quintin Berry, respectively.

"You've got to keep people off in front of him," he said. "It might be a little let through with a couple of one-run homers, but if you start letting up three- and four-run homers it's going to murder you. ... You have to keep those guys off base and make them swing the bat, and then you can work from there and you work around him the best you possibly can."

It might be easier said than done for the young Twins rotation.

This season, Jackson is batting .367 (11-for-30) against Minnesota and Berry has hit .375 (9-for-24). The two have consistently reached base and Cabrera has consistently knocked them in.

For Gardenhire, what Cabrera has done this season isn't necessarily surprising. He's watched it first-hand since the slugger joined the Tigers in 2008. However, he has made a few observations.

"I think he's getting better," he said. "I think he's the best hitter in our league. I know Joe Mauer, average-wise, but I think all-around power, the whole package. I don't think there's anybody that close to him. I've said that for a few years watching him kick the living fire out of us and everybody else."

Cabrera entered Friday's game leading the American League in two of the three Triple Crown categories with a .333 batting average and 130 RBIs. At 41 home runs, he's one behind Josh Hamilton for the AL lead.

Gardenhire is well-aware of the ongoing debate over Cabrera or Angels outfielder Mike Trout for AL Most Valuable Player. But in his mind, "it doesn't make much sense to be arguing about it."

"I'm just tipping my hat to Cabrera. He's the best player in our league. He should be the MVP," he said. "If we were to stop right now, there's no doubt in my mind. Going for a Triple Crown. That's an MVP season."

When informed the sabermetrics say differently and lean in Trout's favor, he wasn't impressed.

"If you're going for a Triple Crown and you've got his numbers, you can 'saber' all you want to," Gardenhire said. "Those numbers blow your brain. And I know Trout's do too, that's pretty good numbers. ... But look at Cabrera's numbers. That's ridiculous."