Tigers open ALDS at home, against who-knows

Justin Verlander has a lot of unique standing among American League pitchers. Here’s another: He’s the one AL pitcher who knows for sure when and where he’s going to be making his next start.

The first pitch of the AL Division Series will be his on Saturday at Comerica Park. The opponent is a work in progress.

Though the five American League postseason teams are set, and the Tigers have the worst record of all of them, Detroit is the only team of the bunch that knows where it slots in. The other four have division races going into the regular season’s final day.

If the season ended Tuesday, the Tigers would be facing the AL West winner. Problem is, that race is now dead-even between the Rangers and A’s, pending their series finale Wednesday afternoon in Oakland.

If Texas wins Wednesday and the Yankees win the AL East, the Rangers will be facing the Tigers in a rematch of last year’s ALCS, only in a best-of-5 format. The Yankees own the season series advantage with the Rangers for top seed.

If Oakland wins Wednesday, then it gets complicated …

  • If the A’s and Yankees both win, the Tigers would be facing the A’s.
  • If the A’s win and the Yankees lose but still win the AL East, then the Tigers would face the Yankees, because the A’s won their season series against New York.
  • If the A’s win and the Yankees lose but the Orioles win, then the AL East comes down to a one-game tiebreaker Thursday in Baltimore. Technically, that game counts as an extra regular-season contest. It’s believed That extra game would not count for tiebreaking purposes against the AL West winner, so the Orioles would lose the head-to-head season series tiebreaker and would face the Tigers.

The O’s lost their season series against both the Rangers and A’s.

At this point, it’s anyone’s guess who the Tigers will face. The saving grace is that thanks to this year’s one-time formatting where the worse-seeded team hosts the first two games, Detroit doesn’t have to worry about where they’ll be on Thursday. They’ll host the first two games, then go on the road for Games 3-5.

“That’s interesting,” Verlander said. “This is the only year they’re going to do that. It’ll be nice, though. I know Saturday, I don’t know who I’ll be pitching against, but I know I’ll toe the rubber in Detroit.”

3 Comments

I have to question whether a game 163 would count for purposes of breaking a tie with a club from another division. The Freep article this morning says otherwise, and I believe that version is correct. I’m sure MLB will clear this up for us, because it’s a topic of discussion.

One clarification, though- the A’s and Yankees split their season series, 5- 5. The A’s had a better intra division record (if that’s used to break ties between clubs in different divisions) and had a better record against AL teams in the final 81 games.

I’m looking forward to getting this clarified.

If MLB’s goal was to be more like the NFL, they have succeeded, but without the week in between playoff games.

Isn’t it great to win the AL Central and host the opening game??

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