September 23rd, 2013

Monday’s lineups: Tigers at Twins

Minny 006

As you probably have heard already, Miguel Cabrera is back in the lineup. Jim Leyland was limited in his comments about it today, but his quote from the weekend presumably still stands: If Cabrera’s good to play, he’s going to play.

Jose Iglesias is not good to play yet. Ramon Santiago gets his fourth start in a row at shortstop.

On the Twins side, it’s a much different lineup without Justin Morneau (who’s in Pittsburgh) and Joe Mauer (who’s done for the season with concussion symptoms). Oswaldo Arcia was supposed to bat cleanup tonight, but he ran into the outfield wall during batting practice and has been scratched. So it’s Brian Dozier batting third, Josh Willingham at cleanup, and a whole lot of less experienced players everywhere else.

TIGERS (career numbers off Mike Pelfrey)

  1. Austin Jackson, CF (4-for-10, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (4-for-15, HR, K)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B (4-for-17, 7 walks)
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B (8-for-23, 3 HR, 2 walks, K)
  5. Victor Martinez, DH (5-for-14, walk, 2 K’s)
  6. Andy Dirks, LF (4-for-11, 2 HR, walk, K)
  7. Omar Infante, 2B (15-for-37, 2 walks, K)
  8. Alex Avila, C (3-for-8, walk, 3 K’s)
  9. Ramon Santiago, SS (1-for-3, walk, K)

P: Justin Verlander

TWINS (career numbers off Verlander)

  1. Alex Presley, CF (1-for-3, walk)
  2. Chris Herrmann, RF (2-for-4)
  3. Brian Dozier, 2B (2-for-6, K)
  4. Josh Willingham, DH (2-for-17, 2 walks, 9 K’s)
  5. Josmil Pinto, C
  6. Chris Parmelee, 1B (3-for-10, HR, walk, 3 K’s)
  7. Clete Thomas, LF (1-for-4, K)
  8. Eduardo Escobar, 3B (1-for-5)
  9. Pedro Florimon, SS (1-for-7, walk, 3 K’s)

P: Mike Pelfrey

What and when the Tigers can clinch

On my way to Minneapolis this morning, here’s a quick refresher on the Tigers’ clinching scenarios:

  • They’ve already clinched some sort of playoff game after the regular season. If the Tigers were to somehow go 0-6 on this road trip, and Cleveland and Texas both won out, Detroit would finish in a tie with the Rangers for the second AL Wild Card spot, which would force a one-game playoff on Monday.
  • Keeping the above scenario in mind, then, any Tigers win or Rangers loss would
    clinch a postseason berth for Detroit. The Rangers host the Astros tonight around the same time the Tigers begin their three-game series against the Twins. If the Tigers win tonight, or if the Rangers lose, Detroit can do no worse than a Wild Card spot.
  • The magic number for clinching the AL Central title is two. However, the most the Tigers can take off of that tonight is one. A win in Minnesota tonight would clinch at least a tie for the division crown, but they’ll need another win or an Indians loss on Tuesday (or later in the week) to wrap up the division title outright. If the Tigers and Indians were to finish tied atop the Central, they’d play a one-game tiebreaker on Monday, even if the second team were guaranteed a Wild Card berth.

Bottom line, the Tigers aren’t going to do any celebrating tonight, even if they beat the Twins and clinch a postseason spot. The soonest they can celebrate a division title is Tuesday night. If the beat the Twins these next couple nights, they’ve got the Central.

As for seeding, the Tigers are two games behind the A’s for home field in the Division Series, and 3 1/2 games behind the Red Sox for the AL’s top seed. Oakland begins a three-game series in Anaheim tonight. Boston is off tonight before beginning a two-game Interleague series in Colorado (the Tigers aren’t the only team bemoaning losing the DH in the season’s final week, it turns out).