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 Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.
A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.