Sep 4, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello (21) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
September is certainly the season for scoreboard watching, and with the division lead cut to 4.5 games on Monday night, you can’t blame the Detroit Tigers fan base for being concerned with the day-to-day fate of the Cleveland Indians. And although the odds makers still gave the Tigers a 95-98% chance of closing out the division, it still felt too close for comfort.
But Tuesday night, thankfully, we as fans got the pair of results we were so desperately looking for. The Tigers rolled their way to an easy 9-1 win on the south side of Chicago, and the pesky Royals came away with a 6-3 road win over Cleveland on the shores of Lake Erie.
It’s not over yet – and it won’t be over until it’s over – but we can all take a much-needed moment to remember that the sky didn’t fall and that this Tigers team is, in fact, in fine position to win the division and make the playoffs with an as-expected 94-95 win season.
- Alex Avila reached base in all five of his plate appearances with a double, three singles, and a walk. That raises his season OPS to ‘only’ .669, but he entered the evening with an .822 OPS mark in the second half and only added to that total with an impressive game on Monday.
- Prince Fielder homered and singled three times as part of a 4-5 day at the plate. His season OPS is .816 – not quite what you’d expect out of him – but he’s another guy that’s been smacking the ball lately.
- Rick Porcello pitched nine nearly flawless innings en route to his first career complete game on 105 pitches. He finished with five strikeouts, seven hits allowed, one walk, and one run allowed. If you could have picked one Tigers starter to be the stopper you would have guessed Rick, right?
- Detroit has 17 games left to play (Cleveland has 18), so the 5.5 game lead means that if they can manage a finish of 9-8, Cleveland would need to go 15-3 to even force a tie. We found out in 2009 that such schedule games don’t always work out, but it sure looks like the Tigers should stave off Cleveland with relatively little trouble.