Jim Leyland’s club are doing their best to make sure there will be no September drama in the American League Central this year.
The Tigers notched their 12th consecutive victory tonight with a 10-3 win over the Indians at Progressive Field. It wrapped up a four-game sweep of Cleveland and extended their lead to seven games in the division.
Detroit scored six runs in the third inning, chasing Indians’ starter Zach McAllister from the ballgame. They added two more in the fourth and fifth innings, which was more than enough for Max Scherzer, who gave up two runs over seven innings to improve to 17-1 on the year. Yes, wins aren’t everything, but consider that no other pitcher in MLB has more than 14 of them right now. With a 2.84 ERA and 175 strikeouts over 158 1/3 innings, Scherzer is looking like the early leader in the clubhouse for the AL Cy Young Award.
The Indians had designs on making their move in the AL Central this week, but they were so thoroughly beaten down that Indians manager Terry Francona let position player Ryan Raburn pitch the ninth inning tonight. He actually delivered a 1-2-3 inning, including a swinging strikeout of Matt Tuiasosopo, but that was a minor highlight in an otherwise disappointing week for Cleveland.
The Rangers will not sign free agent reliever Seung-hwan Oh after all. Reports from MLB.com’s TR Sullivan indicate that negotiations were brought to a halt after a physical issue was found with the pitcher. While the specifics have yet to be released, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the issue was revealed on an MRI of the right-hander’s arm.
Oh was thought to be in talks with the Rangers last week, though a deal was never officially announced by the club. The 35-year-old righty is fresh off of a two-year run with the Cardinals, during which he posted a cumulative 39 saves, 2.85 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 139 innings. He struggled with consistency in his sophomore season, however, and finished 2017 with a disappointing 4.10 ERA and 4.44 FIP in 62 appearances for the team.
While Oh hasn’t experienced any setbacks with his arm in the majors so far, he does have a history of prior injuries during his time in KBO. He sustained a shoulder injury in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2010. It’s possible that the Rangers saw an entirely different problem on the MRI, but clearly it was enough to give them strong reservations about inking the righty to a $2.75+ million deal. It’s still possible that another of Oh’s suitors will offer him a contract prior to Opening Day; the Giants were rumored to be interested in the veteran reliever, among other teams, though their recent acquisition of lefty reliever Tony Watson will likely take them out of the running now.