89-71, 1 game up, magic number is 2.
Alright everybody, get your game faces on. The playoffs start today. We can’t sit around and wait for the Royals to lose the division. We have to take control ourselves.
The task won’t be easy. Even if the opposing team is 22 games under .500.
Here is the Tigers’ record and runs allowed per game against all MLB playoff qualifiers:
Baltimore – 5-1, 3.33
Kansas City – 13-6. 3.47
Los Angeles A – 3-4, 3.71
Oakland – 5-2, 4.14
Pittsburgh – 2-2, 5.25
Los Angeles D – 3-1, 3.75
San Francisco – 1-2, 4.67
(didn’t play Doug Fister’s Nationals, or the Cardinals this year)
Overall that’s 32-18 with 3.82 RAA per game. And we’re scoring 4.86 runs per game. More than a run per game against playoff teams? That is awesome! (Seriously, I’ve never felt better about the playoffs than I do right now).
But for whatever reason, the 2014 Twins play the Tigers like no one else. Here are the same numbers against the Twins:
Minnesota – 8-9, 6.29 runs allowed per game, 5.65 runs scored.
Look, baseball is a funny game. It’s a long season, and inexplicable trends can emerge, especially against division foes. For some reason, the 2014 Twins have the Tigers’ number, and remain a formidable obstacle in the way of a 4th straight division title.
Kyle Lobstein continues his march towards a full-time starter with his 6th career start tonight. None has been bigger than tonight. Every indication is that he’ll be up to the task, as over his first five he’s 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. In 23 2/3 innings at home this year, Lobstein has a .221 BAA, .624 OPS against, and a 1.01 WHIP. He hasn’t yet faced the Twins as a starter, though he has held Twins hitters to a .200 BA and .720 OPS in 25 plate appearances this year.
The Twins counter with Ricky Nolasco, who silenced the Tigers two weeks ago with an 8 inning, 5 hit, 0 run gem. Back in June the Tigers hit Nolasco a bit better, chasing him with 9 hits and 3 runs after 5 1/3. For the season, Nolasco has been very hittable – posting a 5.47 ERA and 1.53 ERA. Righties drill him to the tune of .303/.330/.498/.829 and Lefties crush him, posting a slashline of .335/.386/.524/.910. Nolasco is much more comfortable at home (4.46 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) than away (6.54, 1.75), and the September 16 home start against the Tigers was one of only two starts this year where Nolasco did not allow a run.
The division is right there in front of us. Let’s go get it.
Baseball Reference Game Preview here.
My pre-game player pick for the subsequent game is Ian Kinsler. Talk to you boys tonight.
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (5-9, 3 doubles)
2. Torii Hunter, RF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH (4-6, 1 double)
5. J.D. Martinez, LF (3-9)
6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-3, double)
7. Alex Avila, C
8. Andrew Romine, SS
9. Rajai Davis, CF