October 2nd, 2012
Max Scherzer’s right shoulder is fine. He threw off flat ground Tuesday with no sign of trouble in his troublesome deltoid muscle.
That’s his good news. The worse news for him is that he twisted his right ankle slightly in the Tigers’ on-field celebration, and won’t pitch on Wednesday after all.
“This is a slightly twisted ankle, swollen,” manager Jim Leyland said. “It doesn’t appear to be serious, but it is obviously serious enough that he won’t pitch tomorrow. That’s the only thing I can tell you.”
Leyland didn’t see the injury happen, but he was told about it.
“When people were jumping on the pile, somehow, somebody stepped on his ankle,” Leyland said.
Before that update, Leyland was hoping to not only let Scherzer start, despite the division title having already been clinched, but have him pitch five innings as a final tuneup before an expected Division Series start.
No word yet on who will start Wednesday’s regular-season finale. Drew Smyly was originally expected to start in Scherzer’s place if the game didn’t have any playoff implications, but Leyland said Tuesday that Smyly will only pitch an inning, so he’s out. With no other pitchers stretched out long enough, it might end up being a bullpen start.
Welcome to the hangover game, the day after the clincher. It’s the game a lot of guys rest, though Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are not. Some guys who are playing will not play the full game. In Fielder’s case, Jim Leyland announced this afternoon he’ll play about five innings tonight and DH on Wednesday.
For those asking about Avila catching, there’s a good chance Bryan Holaday will catch the later innings.
For the Royals, Jarrod Dyson starts in center field over David Lough, who had a bit of an adventure out there last night.
- Quintin Berry, CF
- Ramon Santiago, 2B
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B
- Prince Fielder, 1B
- Delmon Young, DH
- Alex Avila, C
- Brennan Boesch, RF
- Don Kelly, LF
- Danny Worth, SS
P: Doug Fister
- Jarrod Dyson, CF
- Alcides Escobar, SS
- Alex Gordon, LF
- Billy Butler, 1B
- Santiago Perez, C
- Jeff Francoeur, RF
- Brayan Pena, DH
- Tony Abreu, 2B
- Irving Falu, 3B
P: Jeremy Guthrie
The Tigers will finish as the only division champion in baseball this season with less than 90 wins. However, they’re the first AL team to clinch a division title. So they’ll spend at least Tuesday night and possibly Wednesday waiting to see who they’ll face. They already know they’ll be the lower-seeded team, hosting Games 1 and 2 on Saturday and Sunday before hitting the road for the rest of the best-of-5 Division Series.
If the season ended today (and there’s a neat little page for this), the Tigers would be getting a rematch with the Rangers, this time in a best-of-5 instead of the best-of-7 they had in last year’s ALCS. And obviously, they’d be opening in Detroit, where the first two games would likely determine the course of the series.
Why Texas? While the Rangers have owned the AL’s best record for much of the stretch run, they’ve lost six of their last 10, while the Yankees have won six of their last 10 to move into a tie with Texas at 93-67 (more importantly, holding off the Orioles so far for the AL East lead).
The Yankees own the tiebreaker over the Rangers thanks to head-to-head matchups. New York went 4-3 against Texas this season. The Yankees also finish up their regular season with two more games against a Red Sox club that fielded a fairly brutal lineup Monday night. The Rangers, meanwhile, have two more matchups against an A’s team that has a chance to beat them out for the AL West title.
If the A’s beat the Rangers the next couple nights, then the Tigers will be facing Oakland in a matchup that went Detroit’s way during a three-game series two weeks ago at Comerica Park.
So between Tigers-Royals and Rangers-A’s, there’ll be some late-night baseball worth watching, certainly tonight, maybe tomorrow as well.