Good Friday evening. Sure, we all knew the streak would end sooner or later – and with Brad Penny going on Wednesday, “sooner” appeared the safest bet. If I had to place money on the next starter most likely to lay an egg and break the streak it would’ve been Max Scherzer. And Max didn’t disappoint.
Leading Off: The Tigers finally hit the wall and snapped their 12-game winning streak, losing to Oakland 6-1. At least it was due to a strong effort by an opposing start – A’s righty Brandon McCarthy tossed seven solid innings and had the Tigers off balance all night – and not, say, Bruce Chen. Delmon Young went yard in the only evidence of the Tigers’ offense. Bygones.
Around the Central: The Rangers helped nudge the Tigers’ magic number to a mere one by smacking down the Indians, 7-4. The Royals beat the White Sox 7-2 in Kansas City. The Twins were idle … as they have been all season.
This season series against Oakland is perfect example of awful scheduling. After Sunday, the Tigers and A’s will have faced each other 10 times this season – eight games in Oakland, two in Detroit. Stupid.
Miguel Cabrera enters tonight’s game with 102 runs scored, 97 RBI and 100 walks as he looks to become just the fifth player in Tigers history to reach a total of 100-or-more in all three categories during a single season. He would join Hank Greenberg (1937, 1938), Charlie Gehringer (1938), Rocky Colavito (1961) and Norm Cash (1961) in accomplishing the feat.
With an early clinching of the division in the offing, Chris Iott writes the Tigers pitching rotation should fall into place nicely:
If the division race had remained tight, it seems likely that Tigers manager Jim Leyland would have skipped Penny to allow Verlander to make three more starts, with the final one scheduled on the final day of the regular season against the Cleveland Indians.
But since the Tigers have pulled away in the race, getting Verlander into the season-ending Cleveland series is clearly not important.
This is why I’m not afraid to say I love Jim Leyland.
Fifty years ago today at Tiger Stadium, Roger Maris tripled off Terry Fox in the seventh to put the Yankees ahead. The Tigers tied it and, then in the 12th, Maris faced Fox again with Tony Kubek on second base. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Maris stepped out of the box to watch a long skein of Canadian geese fly over Tiger Stadium, then stepped in a belted the first pitch for his 58th homer of the year.
In case you were wondering, last year after 150 games the Tigers were 76-74 and in third place, 15 games back of the Twins. In 2009, they were 80-70, with a 2.5-game lead.
Finally, let’s acknowledge a couple of notable and important happenings on this day in history. On Sept. 16, 1908, General Motors was formed in Flint by William Durant. And on this date in 1972, “The Bob Newhart Show” first aired on CBS. And, Happy 62nd Birthday to Ed Begley Jr., who killed in his supporting role as Barry Lutz in “The In-Laws.”
Have a great weekend. And enjoy the clinching tonight. (Or tomorrow or Sunday.)