Game 2014.161: Twins at Tigers

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

47 Comments

  1. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 27, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Good write up Kevin….I’m fired up and ready…the Twins are the wall so let’s go knock it down!

  2. Coleman

    September 27, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    It looks like The Lobster is going to have to be almost perfect against Cy Nolasco, who is well on his way to hanging a golden sombrero on Miggy.

  3. Coleman

    September 27, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    The Lobster is being victimized by shoddy fielding.

  4. Kevin in Dallas

    September 27, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Let’s go Lobstein.

    #Septober

  5. Kevin in Dallas

    September 27, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Oh man, that hurt.

    Lots of ballgame left though.

    • Coleman

      September 27, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      This is the The Endless Inning.

  6. Kevin in Dallas

    September 27, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Oooohhhhhh fuuuudge.

  7. Kevin in Dallas

    September 27, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    It’s a little ridiculous that Coke escapes with no charged ER.

    • StorminNorman$

      September 27, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      though some suspect defense helped MIN on a few of them, MIN did get 8 hits in the 5th inning – 8 hits in one inning!

      I’ve officially given up on UM football (until they clean house: AD, coaching staff, etc) after getting manhandled by a mediocre MIN team…and now the Tigers are feeling some more of that Twinkie magic…this team (DET) is wearing me out!

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      September 27, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      Thank Carrera for a peg to third or Coke would still be there.

  8. StorminNorman$

    September 27, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    appears DET is content to watch the score board and pull for CWS to beat KC 2 games… to satisfy that “magic number”…that’s sad

  9. StorminNorman$

    September 27, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    I’m not watching the DET game (thank God)… but I see where Davis got injured…any word on the extent? that could suck

    • Smoking Loon

      September 27, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      “Groin strain.” Hard to imagine he’ll play.

  10. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 27, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Bases loaded and no outs and only one run.

  11. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 27, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Please get Hardy out of there!

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      September 27, 2014 at 9:31 pm

      Why not Soria this inning?

    • Coleman

      September 27, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      You got your wish–now you get Johnson.

  12. Coleman

    September 27, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Septzzzzzzzzber.

  13. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 27, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Time to take the starters out for tomorrow’s game.

  14. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 27, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Hey, let’s do the time warp again!
    It’s just a jump to 2006!
    When the Royals swept us to the wild card.
    It’s just a jump to 2014.
    When the Twins send us to the wild card.
    We can’t run the bases, we can’t situationally hit
    We just ground ’em to second for outs.
    Let’s do the time warp again!

  15. Coleman

    September 27, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    This is unwatchable.

  16. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 27, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Good to see a big crowd at Chicago for Paulie’s send off.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 27, 2014 at 10:48 pm

      I thought that was for Jeter. Who’s Paulie?

  17. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    September 27, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Our second team bullpen is having fun tonight.

  18. jud

    September 27, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Just how bad is it when you have to root for a team you can’t beat to beat a team you can beat because basically you can’t beat the worst team and pitchers in the league??

    • Smoking Loon

      September 27, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      It’s bad.

  19. Coleman

    September 27, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    White Sox in the process of coughing up their lead over KC…I smell a game 163.

  20. Smoking Loon

    September 27, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    These last two games have been a huge disappointment. HUGE. The honest thing for the Detroit Tigers to do would be to donate their playoff spot to a more deserving team such as the Mariners or Indians. Or the Minnesota Twins, for that matter.

    In two games, how many runs yielded by the corner clown show combo of Castellanos and Cabrera? My conservative estimate is 6.

    This is the team that is supposed to get through the A’s, Orioles, Angels, and some NL champion with insanely good starting pitching? Please.

    I think I can find something else to do tomorrow. Not watching and not caring might help Detroit somehow. Watching and caring the last two evenings sure hasn’t.

    • StorminNorman$

      September 27, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      well stated Loon!!

      I’m not sure if KC ‘deserves’ to win the division, but I know DET doesn’t (deserve it)

      • Smoking Loon

        September 28, 2014 at 12:08 am

        I am just SO disappointed, Stormin’. Yes, I knew it wouldn’t be easy against the Twins, but to be stomped in two consecutive games? It doesn’t even matter that it’s the Twins. Could be anyone. This is give all, must win time. We’re inside the 5 yard line… a short run and two huge sacks later, we’re back at the 25… and our field goal kicker just quit.

  21. Coleman

    September 27, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Wow, Chicago got out of what could have been a big KC inning with a DP that was, well, whatever the opposite of clowns is.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 27, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      Mimes?

  22. Kevin in Dallas

    September 27, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Come on Guerra, J. You can do it!

  23. jud

    September 27, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Whew!….thanks Sux!!!

  24. jud

    September 27, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    I hope the playoffs go fast I can hardly stand watching the Tigers play…maybe a 10% of winning it all…if not lets get this over with…I am hoping for the win but they sure heaven’t earned it!

  25. Kevin in Dallas

    September 28, 2014 at 12:22 am

    #Septober is nuts. Oak has not yet clinched a playoff berth. AJax just lined out with the Mariners’ winning run ar 3rd.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 28, 2014 at 12:32 am

      I’m pulling for Seattle. An underdog thing. It wouldn’t necessarily be in the Tigers’ interest to have to face the Mariners.

  26. Smoking Loon

    September 28, 2014 at 12:29 am

    The Tigers misunderstood you today, Kevin. They thought you said “game feces,” and they obliged. Not careful readers.

    Careful readers note that you got the Tigers’ record coming into tonight wrong. 89-71. And you didn’t mention Jhonny Peralta’s Cardinals.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      September 28, 2014 at 1:04 am

      Updated.

  27. Kevin in Dallas

    September 28, 2014 at 1:06 am

    AJax just had a walk-off fielder’s choice. Mariners still alive.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 28, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Beautiful. Don’t want to have to play them, but I love a Cinderella story.

  28. Coleman

    September 28, 2014 at 2:34 am

    They’ve updated Rajai’s injury to “Grade 1 sprain of the pubic symphysis.” The what? It’s not the groin, but apparently something in the area of the groin.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 28, 2014 at 11:18 am

      Why couldn’t they leave well enough alone?

  29. Coleman

    September 28, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Rajai says he thinks he could play by Thursday. Then he resumed listening to Mozart’s Pubic Symphysis in C.

    • Smoking Loon

      September 28, 2014 at 11:54 am

      Highly underrated and ahead of its time, only recently discovered, performed, and recorded. Royal patrons just weren’t ready for the oboe/cowbell duet in the Scherzo.

      • Coleman

        September 28, 2014 at 12:09 pm

        Yes, he was known for his max Scherzo usage, and his music is now a hit at all of the “weddings” Kevin attends.

  30. Smoking Loon

    September 28, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    She declined my offer of pubic symphisis, even though it was made with the best of intentions. Something about “Justin wouldn’t be cool with that.”