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Verlander, Leyland stump for scorching hot Cabrera in MVP race

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist

DETROIT -- Tigers ace Justin Verlander, one year removed from winning both the American League MVP and Cy Young award, has been wearing a T-shirt around the clubhouse reading "Keep the MVP in the D."

That it is not just an empty slogan for Verlander became crystal clear following his 15th victory of the season, a 6-2 decision over the Athletics on Wednesday.

Verlander turned fiery when someone told him that some baseball analysts think that even if Miguel Cabrera becomes the first player since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win the Triple Crown, Angels' outfielder Mike Trout is still the AL MVP.

"Bull----," Verlander said, firmly.

Told that there is precedent for this, that Ted Williams twice won the Triple Crown (1942 and 1947) without winning the MVP award, Verlander quickly flashed his knowledge of baseball history.

Speaking specifically of 1947, when Joe DiMaggio (.315, 20 homers, 97 RBI, 97 runs scored) won the award over Williams (.343, 32, 114 RBI, 125 runs), Verlander said "that will go down as one of the worst MVP years of all time, in my opinion."

Verlander then shifted back to present day.

"The Triple Crown, that hasn't been done since '67," he said. "C'mon. Even now, when he's one home run away."

Cabrera is batting .363 with 16 homers, 45 RBI and 34 runs scored in 43 games in August and September.

Trout, meantime, was batting .280 with nine homers, 22 RBI and 38 runs over 44 games in August and September into Wednesday night's game against the Rangers.

"Oh my God," Verlander said of the stretch run. "You want to talk MVP, compare those numbers. There's a big difference."

Meantime, after Cabrera blasted his 41st homer of the season to continue his scorching run, manager Jim Leyland was asked about the Trout vs. Cabrera MVP debate that is both fierce and gaining momentum, as it relates to traditional statistics and more modern metrics.

Leyland said he spoke with a "Sabermetric" guy recently who advanced the theory that an unnamed player -- clearly Trout -- according to Sabermetrics, is better than Cabrera.

"When the Sabermetric guy gave me that, I asked him, 'Should I trade Miguel Cabrera for the player'," Leyland said. "And he said, 'Oh no, you can't do that.

"I said, 'Well, then, you don't believe in Sabermetrics and neither do I."

 
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