Game 2013.147: Royals at Tigers

84-62, 1st place, magic # goes to 11. (Basically a lock based on the squiggly lines here.)

Well friends, just a few weeks after the Tigers found themselves atop the AL (at 24 above .500), the Tigers may now find themselves without home field advantage unless they make the World Series. The BoSox have been on a tear over the past three weeks and are now 30 games above .500, 4 games ahead of Detroit, and the A’s have surged to 25 games over.

But the schedule is in our favor. Of all teams in the AL, only CLE has a weaker remaining schedule (I’d love to see them sneak in to a WC spot). Let’s break it down, again.

– 3 v KC at home. This is the only series against a team over .500, with something to play for.

– 4 v. Sea at home.

– 3 v. CWS at home.

Then we end with two 3 game road trips separated by an off-day on the 26th, @Min and @ Fla.

That’s 16 games against teams who are a combined 94 games under. At a minimum this should be a 10-6 swing, if not 11-5. But even at 11-5, I don’t think that 28 games over (95 wins) gets us guaranteed home field. I do think that 12-4 gives us a shot, though the Red Sox remaining SoS (51%) isn’t too bad either.

The Tigers are 0-5 in JV starts vs. KC this year. It hasn’t all been JV’s fault. Though he hasn’t been much of an ace this year either. It’s not going to be easy against the best staff in the AL, and especially against Bruce Chen who has been lights out for KC since he came out of the pen mid-season. Now, the Tigers did get to Chen for 6 earned in 5 1/3 in his first start against Detroit this year. Chen since rebounded as he was dominant last Sunday when the Tigers packed up their bats for the weekend after a 16 run explosion on Friday night. I expect a low scoring game tonight. Limiting walks will be the difference between a 4-3 victor and a 5-4 defeat.

A few notes:

– David Paulino is the PTBNL for Veras.

– This is the last home stand of the season. Division series tix go on sale on Tuesday.

– Despite Boston’s record, Bovada has the Tigers as the favorites to win the Pennant at 9:4 (Bos is 5:2).

Tonight’s Lineup:

1. Jackson, CF
2. Hunter, RF
3. Cabrera, 3B
4. Fielder, 1B
5. Martinez, DH
6. Dirks, LF
7. Infante, 2B
8. Avila, C
9. Iglesias, SS



    September 13, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Will JP be auditioning during the Miami series for the LF position for the playoffs. Could his hitting return to where it was before he was suspended?

    • Vince in MN

      September 13, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      He’s auditioning right now. If he hasn’t started already, he will be playing in FLA Instructional League games soon.

  2. Vince in MN

    September 13, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    I’m surprised teams haven’t bunted more on Cabrera.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 13, 2013 at 11:28 pm

      The bunt called a hit was foul, and the ump missed that where Miggy looking straight down on the ball didn’t, but Miggy made a mistake by picking it up too late when it was too close to or back on the chalk.

  3. Vince in MN

    September 13, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Odd that both Avila and Dirks are in the lineup against Chen.

    • Coleman

      September 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      Pena hit a double off of Chen last time they played, but Avila is The Starting Catcher.

      • Smoking Loon

        September 13, 2013 at 11:25 pm

        Chen has reverse splits.

  4. judpma

    September 13, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    no Pena..he will be the best man at Chen’s wedding it has been reported

  5. judpma

    September 13, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    nice win…they are all nice wins.. but this is a nice win!!!

    • Smoking Loon

      September 13, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      Yeah. A blast to watch, especially before it got nervous late. Avila throwing out Bonifacio… Prince’s swing on his Yankee Stadium HR… Verlander/Fielder picking off Dyson… Hunter’s balk-stolen steal of 3B.

      Benoit was big-time. Wish I could feel confident in this bullpen. Can’t.

      Tigers struck out 5 straight times in their last at bats. 7 of the last 8 Tigers struck out, in fact. Win or lose, that is ugly, and those were some ugly Ks against the Royals B team. This bodes ill.

      Now that Peralta appears to be on his way to rejoining the team… I wish Cabrera would do the same.

  6. Coleman

    September 13, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    A lot of fun, playoff-type games today. It looks like the Rangers just got screwed on a bad rally-killing call. Have there been more of these this season, or does it just seem like it since one can watch so much more baseball action now?

    • Smoking Loon

      September 14, 2013 at 12:10 am

      What was the call?

      • Coleman

        September 14, 2013 at 12:30 am

        Runner going first to third on a single was “thrown out” at third, he looked pretty safe, that was the 3rd out of the inning, they lost 9-8. Rios was ejected arguing about the call on top of everything else (and someone else was ejected the next inning from the dugout).

        • Smoking Loon

          September 14, 2013 at 12:50 am

          Watched it. Yeah, he’s safe on replay, but that goes for quite a few SB and extra-base taking plays. It was close. Ump wasn’t seeing it from the camera angle, of course, and the ball beat Rios by a mile. I think the defense gets that call 9 times out of 10.

          You could argue that Rios shouldn’t have been trying to take 3B. From where he was when the throw was coming in, it was obvious that his break from 1B couldn’t have been too good. I can see us lambasting Hunter, Brookens, or both for this aggressive risk. Sharply hit ball to LF, cut off crisply by Cespedes. Hmmm. 1st and 2nd, 2 out, Pierzynski and Moreland due up next might have been the better choice.

  7. Smoking Loon

    September 14, 2013 at 12:38 am

    Well, maybe the AL Central has gone the other way (thank goodness), but the Game Poster League race is only getting tighter:

    Coleman 29-20 – avg RS/RA 5.4 to 3.4
    Smoking Loon 29-21 – avg RS/RA 5.5 to 4.2
    Kevin in Dallas 27-21 – avg. RS/RA 4.3 to 4.1

    Now, give Coleman credit for expert handling of the pitching staff. 5 shutouts, 8 more close to it. But 6 wins against the Astros? 7-6 against the Twins? Hmmm. All right – 5-2 against Cleveland.

    Kevin is 8-5 against the White Sox. I like that. But he hasn’t shown us he can beat the better teams. Atlanta, sure, but that was early and those guys were hacking. And what’s up with those mediocre RS/RA numbers? 4 times shut out on his watch, too. On the other hand, Kevin’s only drawn the Indians for 3 games. (But swept ’em.)

    OK, so the pitchers don’t perform very well for me. I deliver runs – double-digits 10 times. I’m 7-2 against Cleveland, 5-2 against the Blue Jays. Don’t tell anyone I’ve lost 6 to the Royals, 4 of them by 1 run. Yeah, that was fun.

    I advocate series wins and sweeps the rest of the way to keep things close and interesting.