It wasn’t what they needed, but the Twins still have some life after winning two out of four games in Detroit. Thursday’s game turned into a rout in the eighth as Minnesota ended up winning 8-3. That leaves the Twins two games back with three to play.
What’s left may favor the Twins a bit. They have three home games against the Royals this weekend, while the Tigers have a home series against the White Sox. Let’s look at the probable matchups:
Kansas City at Minnesota
Fri: Lenny DiNardo vs. Jeff Manship
Sat: Zack Greinke vs. Nick Blackburn
Sun: Luke Hochevar vs. Brian Duensing
Chicago at Detroit
Fri: Jake Peavy vs. Edwin Jackson
Sat: Freddy Garcia vs. Alfredo Figaro
Sun: John Danks vs. Justin Verlander
Minnesota‘s starters are all tentative at the moment, but that’s how it’s lining up. Manship appears likely to get the nod on Friday because Francisco Liriano threw an inning Wednesday. Blackburn would be starting on short rest after being pushed back from Monday to Tuesday by the rainout.
The Tigers aren’t in such an urgent position, so they won’t go with Verlander on short rest Saturday. Verlander will probably be limited to a couple of innings Sunday if the Tigers have clinched by then. The Tigers will also probably want Rick Porcello to throw a couple of innings then.
The Greinke roadblock is huge, so even if the White Sox step up and claim two out of three games this weekend, the Twins have their work cut out for them to force a one-game playoff.
Neither the Pirates nor the Tigers could manage any offense during Thursday afternoon’s game at PNC Park. That is, until outfielder Corey Dickerson launched a walk-off solo home run off of Alex Wilson with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Dickerson, 28, has been solid for the Pirates for the first month of the season. He’s batting .314/.348/.500 with a pair of home runs, 13 RBI, and 13 runs scored in 92 plate appearances. The Pirates acquired him from the Rays in late February in exchange for journeyman pitcher Daniel Hudson and Single-A infielder Tristan Gray.