Sunday, September 27, 2009

Could Be Major Drama: Tigers vs. Twins

It has been an eventful weekend. While the games may not have been the most exciting, the playoff picture is starting to come to form.

The New York Yankees managed to officially take the American League East and home field advantage throughout the playoffs by beating the Red Sox this afternoon.

Meanwhile, out in Colorado, the fighting Rockies gave way to the Cardinals on Saturday night, allowing St. Louis to claim the National League Central Division.

In addition, the Los Angeles Dodgers were able to at least secure a playoff spot. They can now concentrate on moving ahead of the afore mentioned Cardinals to take home-field advantage in the National League.

With most other teams a game or two away from wrapping up their respective divisions, the focus this week now turns to the American League Central, which features the only real race left - and what a race it has been. Quite fittingly, it will all culminate this week as the Minnesota Twins, two games back of the Tigers in the division, will make their way into Detroit for a four game series.

You want drama? You've got it.

In a perfect world, Detroit would like to welcome Minnesota in Comerica Park by winning three out of four, which would give the Tigers the division. But, if the Twins have proven anything over the last month, it is that they are not ready to go down without a fight.

Conversely, if Minnesota can manage to win three out of four, it would send both teams into the final weekend of the regular season tied atop the Central, with the Tigers welcoming in the White Sox and the Twins going home to play the Royals.

However, we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves here.

Probable pitching matchups for the series are as follows:

  • Nick Blackburn, RHP (11-11, 4.18) vs. Rick Porcello, RHP (14-9, 4.14)
  • Brian Duensing, LHP (5-1, 3.33) vs. Justin Verlander, RHP (17-9, 3.41)
  • Carl Pavano, RHP (13-11, 4.86) vs. Eddie Bonine, RHP (0-1, 4.60)
  • Scott Baker, RHP (14-9, 4.48) vs. Nate Robertson, LHP (2-2, 5.56)
Detroit may have the slight advantage in terms of pitching, but I emphasize the word "slight". The Tiger staff contains more talent, yet it holds more question marks.

Look for both offenses to step up. MVP hopeful Miguel Cabrera has been hot for the Detroit lately (reaching 100 runs batted in for the sixth year in a row on Saturday), while the Twins, led by Joe Mauer, have gone 8-2 since clean up hitter Justin Morneau went down with a stress fracture in his lower back on September 15th.

Another race?: The Atlanta Braves still stand only 2.5 games behind the Colorado Rockies in the National League Wild Card Race. While the teams do not play each other before the season ends, it definitely should prove to be an exciting finish to what has been an intriguing race since late August.

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