Detroit is thinking sweep, because well, they have to. The Tigers are two games back in the Central with 13 to play, none of which are against Chicago, the team they're chasing. They're out of the wild card race. If they don't catch Chicago, that's $133 million down the drain in the Motor City.
Max Scherzer, who would normally start on Sunday, left the game on Tuesday after just two innings with right shoulder fatigue. An MRI was negative, but Drew Smyly looks likely to take his place in the rotation for at least one week. Smyly was a starter until hitting the DL in mid-July, and has mostly pitched out of the bullpen since his late-August return. Through his first six starts, Smyly had a 1.59 ERA, but in the nine that followed - up until his injury - his ERA was 6.55.
Catcher Alex Avila ran into Prince Fielder's elbow while chasing a pop-up on Sunday, and he's having recurring headaches and has been diagnosed with a mild concussion. He's hoping to play today, but the doctor won't clear him until his headaches subside (attaboy, doc.) Here's hoping that Avila doesn't end up with an ongoing thing out of this; we who have followed the sagas of Justin Morneau and Corey Koskie and Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Brent Burns know how awful this can be.
The guys at Bless You Boys are living on the knife-edge of September baseball. Losses are devastating. I remember what that's like. (/sigh)
Take a look at the pitchers scheduled for this series. Now remind yourself that, as of right now, Scott Diamond and Samuel Deduno are your #1 and #2 starters for the 2013 Minnesota Twins. Don't weep. Just stare off into the middle distance, jaw set, as you contemplate next year. Use Gardy up there as your example.
Darin Mastroianni jammed his left index finger while scoring the winning run on Tuesday night, and as a result won't do anything but pinch-run for the rest of the year. He'll finish the year with a .252 / .328 / .350 line, along with 21 stolen bases in 24 attempts. Mastroianni has turned out to be a great pickup, and one would presume he'll be on the roster again as a utility outfielder and speedster next year. (He also has the distinct advantage of being neither Erik Komatsu or Clete Thomas.)
Matt Capps threw Wednesday down in the Twins' practice squad (better known as the Instructional League). We would make a joke here about Capps needing the trip to the Instructional League for more than just rehab, but frankly we're still pretty impressed that he's still trying to get back to a squad that's heading for 95 losses.
Chris Parmelee is in California for the birth of his first child, who will likely begin the season in Low-A ball next year. (Or something like that.)