The Tigers scored four runs in a three-game series against the Twins

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When people ask me if I think the Indians will hold on in the AL Central, I’ve taken to saying “heck yeah.” The Royals are good but have a lot of injuries and a pretty decent-sized hold to dig out of while down several key players. The Tigers are closer and healthier, but then they Tigers-it-all-up like they just did against the Twins.

Justin Verlander pitched fantastically against Minnesota today, allowing one run over eight innings and striking out nine. The Tigers lost, however, because (a) they could do nothing offensively against the worst pitching staff in baseball; and (b) their closer, Francisco Rodriguez, gave up three runs on two homers in two-thirds of an inning.

In all, the Tigers scored only four runs in dropping two of three to the Twins, who allow a league-worst 5.2 runs per game. Only Colorado and Cincinnati are worse at preventing runs than the Twins are, but the Tigers couldn’t figure them out.

On paper Detroit has a pretty good offense. It has the tendency of calling in sick in bunches, however. It’s just an inconsistent club. For that reason, I’m feeling pretty good about the Indians these days.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster 11-year, $280 million contract, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.