Welcome to the weekend and a big series against the Indians at Comerica Park. Cleveland will avoid facing Justin Verlander in the three-game set, much to the chagrin of Tigers fans.
Leading Off: The Tigers were off on Thursday and likely spent part of the day kicking themselves over missing an opportunity to beat the Twins and take the series. You know, kinda like how they kicked the ball around the diamond and let the Twins beat them, 6-5. Unfortunately, the boys remembered how good they used to be at losing to Minnesota in myriad ways … Every time the Tigers face Joe Nathan I think to myself, This is the time they beat him. Alas …Around the Central: The Indians doubled up the White Sox, 4-2; the Royals lost to the Red Sox and are now 23 games under .500, and the Twins lost to the Yankees and CC Sabathia, 8-4.
Leyland’s Ugly Lineups: At least that’s what Dave Schoenfield wrote:
No matter how you slice it, Detroit’s best hitters have been, in order: Cabrera, Avila, Peralta, Martinez, Boesch and then a big drop to Dirks and regular leadoff hitter Austin Jackson. So with several good lineup options, Jim Leyland has instead chosen to bat two players with poor on-base percentages in front of his best hitter. And he continues to bat his second- and third-best hitters sixth and seventh.
I know there’s a goodly number of you who agree 100 percent — or more, if that were possible.
Did you know the Tigers are 27-18 against clubs from the A.L. Central this season? Detroit’s .600 winning percentage is tops among all A.L. clubs with the .600 winning percentage against the division.
I’m not sure what sort of voting calamity would have to occur for a pitcher to win an MVP award, but indulge me for the moment, since the rules for MVP voters do not in any way exclude pitchers, and any voter who omits them entirely is violating the spirit of those rules, if not their letter as well. Such a voter is also ignoring the value that a top-end starting pitcher can create, whether it’s Roy Halladay this year in the National League or Verlander in the American.
An august August for Avila. Alex Avila enters tonight’s game hitting .426 with three doubles, a triple, three home runs and 11 RBI in 14 games during August. He’s leading American League players with a .426 batting average and .542 on-base percentage during the month, while he is third with a .723 slugging percentage.
Finally, Happy 63rd Birthday to Gerald “Major Dad” McRaney. Have a great weekend.