This week we'll be taking a look at the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians, both AL Central representatives in this year's playoff pictures. The Tigers won their second AL Central championship pennant in a row this season, and the Indians are making a surprise appearance after last season's incredibly strong start and unfortunate fade out later in the season.
Detroit Tigers (Bless You Boys)
The Tigers will be taking the field against the Oakland A's on Friday at 8:37 pm (CST) at O.Co Coliseum. Friday's game will feature Detroit's ace Max Scherzer throwing against Oakland ace Bartolo Colon. While Scherzer was the first pitcher to make it to 20 wins in the regular season, Colon wasn't that far behind--he had 18 wins and 6 losses with just a 2.65 ERA over the 2013 season. Game two will feature former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander (13-12, 3.46 ERA) throwing against Oakland rookie Sonny Gray (5-3, 2.67 ERA in the regular season). As of now, Anibal Sanchez is slated for game 3, and if necessary, Doug Fister would be starting game 4. If the series goes to 5 games, the Tigers have the (envious, really) option of throwing Scherzer out on shorter rest or Verlander out on regular rest. Not a bad lineup for the start of a postseason run, not to mention the offensive power they have that is headlined by AL batting champ Miguel Cabrera's batting prowess. And just in case you haven't been paying attention? Here are Max Scherzer's numbers for the 2013 season:
|2013 - Max Scherzer||21-3||32||32||0||0||0||0||214.1||152||73||69||18||56||240||2.90||.97|
Cleveland Indians (Let's Go Tribe!)
The Indians had their best September in team history (a very impressive 21-6 for the month), clinching them an AL Wild Card spot in the playoffs this year. You may remember this because they clinched this position by beating the Twins. At Target Field. That was fun, wasn't it? Ahem, anyway, back to the topic at hand...the Indians will be taking on the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday at 7:00 pm CST at Progressive Field in Cleveland. This matchup will feature formerly-injured Alex Cobb (took a liner to the head in a game in June and missed nearly two months of play) for the Rays and Cleveland rookie Danny Salazar, who has only made 11 major league starts since being called up, but has struck out over 11 batters per nine innings. We'll see if the stress and anxiety of starting a playoff game will get to him as a young starter in a big spot. The winner of this series will get to take on Boston on Friday. And here'staking a closer look at Cleveland's young starter for Wednesday's game:
|2013 - Danny Salazar||2-3||10||10||0||0||0||0||52.0||44||18||18||7||15||65||3.12||1.13|
October baseball is here, by far the most exciting time of the season (even if your team didn't make the cut this year), so make sure to soak it up before we're left stranded in the land of football and hockey until P&C report in February again...