Detroit Tigers: 68-45, 1st Place (7 ahead of Cleveland). Winning Streak: 12.
Sneaking under the radar a bit: Detroit Tigers, American League’s Best Record.
Well, there we go. (Tap). A four-game sweep of the division rival Cleveland Indians, who have now become the “division rival” Cleveland Indians. (Tap). That’s a four-game sweep AT Cleveland. (Tap). The Tigers are now 13-3 on the season against the Indians, including 9-1 on the road. (Tap). (That tapping sound you hear are the nails going into the coffin of Cleveland’s division title hopes). I’m not sure how Cleveland can bounce back from this, but for those who think Terry Francona is the best manager around, it’s time to see what he’s got.
Despite the comfortable division lead, tonight’s game is significant because the Tigers have a chance to extend their winning streak to 13 games. Just kidding: we all know the most important story tonight is the Alex Rodriguez home debut. Will they boo? will they cheer? Will we care? At least the Tigers are playing the Yankees, so they won’t cut away from the Tiger game to show A-Rod bat like the MLB Network did to broadcast Derek Jeter’s First At Bat of the Season live (yes, they did). Hey, the Yankee fans need something to distract then, they have been pretty much eliminated from the playoff picture.
OK, back to our regularly scheduled program. It has been a long time since the Tigers franchise has won 13 in a row; in fact, as ESPN points out, Jim Leyland was not alive the last time it happened (which is amazing, since I was pretty sure Abner Doubleday was his 3rd base coach at one point). 1934 was the last time Detroit won 13 straight. Can anything stop the Tigers right now? Maybe the weather: rain is predicted. [Update: 6:00, light rain, tarp on the field].
Tonight’s game looks as though it may be an unexpected pitcher’s duel. Rick Porcello vs. Ivan Nova hardly seemed to be a marquee matchup, but look at their records over their past 5 starts:
Porcello: 5-0, 1.87 ERA
Nova: 3-2, 1.66 ERA
Porcello should get an extra boost tonight from the new Jose Iglesias/Hernan Perez infield behind him.
In some ex-Tiger news: the Chicago White Sox put Caspar Wells on waivers, and he has been claimed by the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies in turn cleared a roster spot for Wells by giving the ol’ DFA to…Delmon Young! Wells has now been a member of the Mariners, Blue Jays, A’s, White Sox, and Phillies this season. And also pitched one scoreless inning for the White Sox, a la Ryan Raburn, which I somehow missed.
The White Sox, by the way recalled Avisail Garcia today.
Jose Iglesias is now a REAL Tiger–he has changed agencies and will now be represented by Scott Boras. If anyone is interested in who represents who, MLBTradeRumors has an Agency Database. How about that!
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Alex Avila. Alex was sent back to Detroit, rather than traveling with the team to New York, for observation, since he had complained of dizziness and nausea after taking a shot off the mask which left him with a bloody ear. He was cleared, and has caught up with the team. Alex Avila takes more abuse than other catchers, maybe more than any other catcher, and it has been going on long enough that it is hard to brush it off as bad luck. Is it the way he sets up? Is there a catching coach who could help him? Is it the way the Tiger pitchers pitch? Would it help him to have a goalie-style mask?
[Update: Avila was originally in the lineup, but has been scratched for Pena. Let’s go with AJax as POPG, 5-for-13 off Nova]
Today’s Baker’s Dozen Lineup: