Detroit Tigers: 90-64, 1st Place (6.0 ahead of Cleveland). Magic Number: 3
Well, it looks like the 5th time was the charm. Max Scherzer is now a proud 20-game winner, and had a sip of the bubbly to celebrate…apparently he is saving the magnum of Stroh’s for the postseason. Max also became only the 11th Tiger ever to record 20 wins and 200 strikeouts in a season, joining Jusin Verlander (2011), Jack Morris (1983, 1986), Joe Coleman (1971, 1973), Mickey Lolich (1971, 1972), Denny McLain (1968), and Hal Newhouser (1945, 1946). Quite a list to be on.
The Tigers reduced their magic number to 3; as expected, the Astros could not handle the Indians, although I suppose you have to give them credit for losing efficiently in 7 innings. It looks like the home celebration may indeed be an iffy proposition.
Cleveland has now unseated Texas for the 2nd wild card spot, and with an easy remaining schedule could very well hang on to it. The Tigers have to love the idea of having Cleveland in the playoffs, since Cleveland seems capable of beating anyone…except Detroit. I am a bit melancholy about the prospect of a playoff without Yankees though, since they were so good about playing the Washington Generals to the Tigers’ Globetrotters. Besides, I suspect there is some phenomenon–let’s call it Coleman’s Law, until we figure out the real name–whereby the more one team dominates another in the regular season, the less likely they are to beat them in the postseason.
You’ve got to love this time of year. Tampa guts out 18 innings against the Orioles, then knocks them off again several hours later this afternoon (Baltimore is done). Kansas City, continuing to be a Royal pain, kicks Texas while they are down, and clings to wild card contention. Oakland continues bombing teams, blanking the Twins 11-0 (they have scored 7 runs or more in 8 of their 19 September games. Where did that come from?). The National League Central refuses to decide itself, going into the home stretch with a three-team race. Fun times.
Jose Iglesias is out again with his day-to-day hand bruise. He is also still the reigning Web Gem, and the subject of an ESPN Sport Science segment, which breaks down the play. It’s worth a watch.
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Matt Tuiasosopo. This may be the last, best time for Tui Time. With new Left Fielder Jhonny Peralta prepping to join the team, Tui needs to stake his claim on the LF platoon. He is one of the few Tigers who hit Sale well (4-for-11),
Tonight’s Tea for Tui Lineup: