over over -- it never is until you pop the champagne corks -- but the Detroit Tiger..."/> over over -- it never is until you pop the champagne corks -- but the Detroit Tiger..."/>

Detroit Tigers Bury Cleveland Indians in AL Central Race


Aug 8, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Ramon Santiago (39) and second baseman Hernan Perez (26) celebrate after scoring during the fifth inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

No, it’s not over over — it never is until you pop the champagne corks — but the Detroit Tigers’ sweep of the Cleveland Indians makes this division race just about as over as it could be for early August. They took a three game lead and stretched it to seven within a matter of four days, and their playoff odds are well into the 97-plus% range.

Thursday night’s 10-3 win over the Indians kept the Tigers’ pace above the 97 win mark while putting one of the more difficult series on their remaining schedule in the rear view mirror. This winning streak — now at 12 games — is going to come to an end at some point, but the Tigers don’t even need to play much above .500 over the last month and a half (or so) to reach 93 wins.

The Indians entered Thursday’s game hoping to salvage one game against the Tigers, but starting pitcher Zach McAllister not only didn’t have his good stuff, but he didn’t have his mediocre stuff. The night after the bullpens were taxed in a 14-inning game, McAllister lasted only 2.1 innings, walking four batters, allowing four hits, and watching six runs come around to score against him. That pretty much finished the night for Cleveland, and more or less ended their run at the AL Central crown.

On the other side, Scherzer was stellar again. He was efficient, using 100 pitches to get through seven innings, and, while perhaps not overly dominating with the strikeout totals, remained his brilliant self. He scattered four hits and one walk and struck out five while only allowing a pair of runs to score against him. Besides two doubles off the bat of Asdrubal Cabrera, Scherzer never really ran into much in the way of a Cleveland threat.

An interesting note, not that it’s predictive of anything, the Tigers are 23-7 since Omar Infante‘s injury. They miss him of course, but it’s important that he’s healthy when he returns. No need for him to rush if he’s not ready. He was able to play six innings at second base base today for Toledo, so perhaps he’s getting close.

Kansas City is leading Boston 3-0 in the seventh inning at the time of this post. If the Red Sox lose that game, the Tigers will have tied them for the best record in the American League. The Tigers are right where we thought they’d be all along, if not a bit ahead at this point.