Sunday, September 28, 2014

Tiger Finally Clinch Division Title

Tigers starter David Price pitched 7 1/3 shutout innings in division-clincher
(Photo credit: FoxSports.com)

It was almost a foregone conclusion going into the season that the Tigers would win the American League Central division.  What nobody guessed was that it would take 162 games before they clinched it.  The Tigers finally secured their fourth consecutive division title today with a 3-0 shutout over the Twins in Comerica Park.  

Starting pitcher David Price was brilliant today in dueling Twins right hander Kyle Gibson into the eighth inning of a game that was reminiscent of the 1987 clincher versus the Blue Jays.   For those who are too young to remember, the Tigers beat Toronto 1-0 on the final game of the 1987 season to win the most thrilling pennant race life of my lifetime.  Left-hander Frank Tanana pitched a complete game shutout and outfielder Larry Herndon hit an early home run to provide the only offense.

Today, second baseman Ian Kinsler was Herndon putting the Tigers up 1-0 with a solo homer going in the third inning.  Price was Tanana keeping that slim lead intact into the top of the eighth inning.   He wasn't quite Tanana though.  In 2014, complete game shutouts are rare and even the durable Price was not going to get one today leaving after 112 pitches and one out in the eighth. It also didn't end 1-0 as the Tigers added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth.

The biggest fear of Tigers fans all year has been the bullpen blowing games late and no lead ever feels safe.  However, the much maligned Tigers bullpen duo of Joba Chamberlain and Joe Nathan closed this one out in surprisingly easy fashion retiring five batters in succession.  

The Tigers now face the Orioles in the first round of the playoffs starting on Thursday in Baltimore.

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