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.
The Cubs had a scare on Wednesday night when third baseman Kris Bryant left with an apparent ankle injury. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters hit a pop up that veered just into foul territory near the third base bag. Bryant caught it but his momentum took him back into fair territory. In doing so, he stepped awkwardly on the third base bag and appeared to twist his ankle. Bryant needed the assistance of manager Joe Maddon and the team trainer to get off the field.
Bryant was diagnosed with a mild ankle sprain, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.
Bryant was 2-for-3 on the night before departing and being replaced by Jeimer Candelario. He’s now hitting .264/.395/.520 with 16 home runs and 32 RBI in 329 plate appearances. Needless to say, the 39-39 Cubs would see their playoff odds hurt immensely if Bryant were to miss a significant amount of time.
Hector Gomez reports Twins third baseman Miguel Sano will participate in the 2017 Home Run Derby, to be held in two weeks at Marlins Park in Miami. So far, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is the only other confirmed participant.
Sano, 24, is having an outstanding season, batting .274/.375/.548 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI in 293 plate appearances. According to MLB’s Statcast, only Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (96.7 MPH) has a higher average exit velocity than Sano (96.4 MPH).
Brian Dozier was the last member of the Twins to participate in the Home Run Derby. In 2014 at Target Field, Dozier failed to make it into the second round after hitting only two home runs. Justin Morneau is the only Twin to have ever won the Home Run Derby, as he beat Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the finals of the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium — although Hamilton out-homered him in total 35 to 22.