Drew Smyly and the Tigers (22-12, 1st place) aim to clinch the series against Ubaldo Jimenez and the Orioles (20-16, 1st place).
Some of us are old enough to actually remember a time before divisions. Leagues was leagues. I was around, but by the time I was a more fully aware young baseball fanatic, there was East and West. I would see the final standings of the recent past in the sports sections of these big “year in the news” almanac-like volumes (more about words and pictures than the old World Almanacs) and find coolness in the novelty of how it appeared to the eye. Of course, there were divisions back then in the sense that the expressions “first division” and “second division” had arisen to describe the obvious. But consider how much more first place – the pennant! – meant then. (And the cellar was really, truly the cellar back then.) Finishing first was finishing on top of 9 other teams (and being rightfully rewarded for it). Right now, the Tigers are on top of 14 other teams. If this keeps up, I think I’m going to start posting “old style” AL standings. I really wouldn’t mind if baseball dispensed with divisions for purposes of standings. There are other ways to use divisions in the background for purposes of scheduling. I’m partial to the idea of “scheduling divisions” that actually change every year based on the results of the previous season. But that’s a story for another day, if ever. For now, we have East, West, and Central, along with closers and their precious saves, interleague play, the DH, and a few dozen other things you might look forward to dispensing with yourself.
Today’s guess at the lineup is that it will be mostly the A team but not entirely. Worth at SS, Kelly in there somewhere, Holaday spelling Avila? Surprise us, Brad. Go Tigers.