The AL Central is going down to the wire

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The Tigers had a three game lead with four to play.  No team in that position has ever failed to make the playoffs.  With their loss last night and the Twins’ win, the Tigers are threatening to make history. According to a couple of game reports I read, they were even getting some boos. Boos? Really? But everything I read has told me that the Tigers are totally saving Detroit.  Ingrates.

The good news for Detroit is that the Twins have to face Zack Greinke this afternoon, while the Tigers get Freddy Garcia.  If things go according to expectations, Detroit will pop some champagne this evening.  If Minnesota beats up Greinke, however, the Twins will start to give off that team-of-destiny stench.

Yes, the Tigers could still win the division tomorrow if they had to, but they really don’t want to take it that far.  For one thing, the matchups don’t favor them: the Twins will face Luke Hochevar while the Tigers face Jon Danks.

Another reason why tonight is a must-win (and a Twins must-lose) for Detroit? Because if Detroit has to play to win tomorrow, they’ll have to run Justin Verlander out against the White Sox.  That would make him unavailable to pitch in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees, and if the Tigers make it that far, they’ll want to be able to start with their ace.

Of course, with things going the way they are, they’ll be thanking their lucky stars if they have to worry about ALDS matchups.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.