They’ll still need help from the Cleveland Indians-Houston Astros series if the Detroit Tigers hope to clinch the division in front of the home fans on Sunday (the help mostly being Cleveland losing at least one of the two remaining games), but they can still clinch a minimum of a Wild Card berth without any such help.
Cleveland won last night in a rain-shortened game against Houston, and in doing so passed the Texas Rangers (who were beaten by the Kansas City Royals) to hold the final spot in the Wild Card standings. Detroit’s magic number over Cleveland (for the division) was shaved down to three last night, but their magic number for playoff inclusion in general fell to two (now over the Rangers).
So, with two home games remaining in the season, the Tigers just need two wins (or a win and a Rangers loss, etc.) to clinch playoff baseball* in front of the home fans. It’s not the type of clinching that is likely to induce a full-on champagne celebration (nor should it), but it would make the end-of-year standing ovation that the fans will undoubtedly give the team just a bit more special.
*And really the Tigers need only one more win (or one Texas loss) to clinch extra baseball as a Game 163 would be used to break a tie for the final Wild Card spot.
But really, winning the division outright was always the goal this season, and it just a matter of time until that becomes official, and all it will take is a three wins in the final eight games to pop the corks regardless of any sort of run the Indians might make. With two left with the White Sox and then three each with the Twins and Marlins, reaching that number won’t take long at all.