Detroit Tigers: 79-56, 1st Place (7.5 ahead of Cleveland).
Really, it is the most remarkable thing: Cleveland just cannot beat Detroit. After cruising to a rain-shortened victory last night, Detroit improved to 14-3 against their division rivals. There is nothing like that at the top of any other division in baseball; I don’t know when the last time there has been.
That’s what the standings would look like, if you take the head-to-head match ups out.
Of course, it is a rule of thumb that you have to beat the teams in your own division if you want to get anywhere. But even so…
DET vs Central (without CLE):
Total: 23 – 19 .548
CLE vs Central (without DET):
Total: 28 – 13 .718
Cleveland is actually taking care of its own division better than Detroit…except for Detroit.
As strange as it all is, I say let’s enjoy it, and let’s hope it continues tonight.
At least Cleveland won’t have to deal with Miguel Cabrera tonight. The official, and consistent, word from the medical arm of the Tigers word-makers is that Cabrera’s injuries are of the sort whereby he won’t make them any worse by playing. From where I sit, that attempt to stretch a double into a double Thursday was painful. His at bat yesterday: painful. Well, something is getting worse, and even if playing doesn’t make it a worse worse, it certainly doesn’t make it better. Enjoy the night off, Mr. C., you have earned it.
The Tigers have recalled Phil Coke, making him eligible for the postseason roster [eruption of dancing in the streets]. They also recalled Hernan Perez, which was probably necessary if Cabrera is going to be on the shelf for a while. To make room, Bonderman was sent to Toledo, and Poor Ol’ Putty (Luke Putkonen) was sent hurtling down to Lakeland.
Which reminds me of another little move that went without comment. Thursday, after a rather rough outing on Wednesday, Jose Alvarez was sent down to Toledo and replaced by Luke Putkonen. As luck would have it, Putkonen was quite useful on Thursday: Max Scherzer just didn’t have it, and the Tiger looked like they were on their way to a blowout sweep. As we all know, instead they staged a thrilling comeback which culminated in the Torii Hunter walk off home run. The guy who was overlooked and under-appreciated in all of this was Luke Putkonen, who came in and pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Max to stop the bleeding.
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Victor Martinez. Victor justified his POPG last night, so why dismount a hot horse midstream? Besides he is 9-for-18 lifetime against Kazmir.
Tonight’s Very Different Lineup: