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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to defend their three straight American League Central titles.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lineups for Septober 22, series opener vs White Sox

The Tigers head into the final calendar week of the regular season with a 1.5-game lead in the American League Central race. Their magic number to win the division, prior to Monday's play, is seven games, while their number to clinch a playoff spot is five.

There are seven games remaining in the regular season for the Tigers, including Monday night's.

Their closest competitor in the Central, the Kansas City Royals, has to make up the remainder of a suspended game from Aug. 31, before playing Monday's regularly-scheduled game against the host Cleveland Indians. The Royals were trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the 10th inning when the game was suspended. The resumption will begin at 6:05 p.m.

[UPDATE: The Indians won, 4-3, dropping the Tigers' magic number to six, upping their lead in the division to two games.]

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
J.D. Martinez, LF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Andrew Romine, SS
Ezequiel Carrera, CF

Pitcher: Kyle Lobstein, LHP (1-0, 3.58 ERA)

Alexei Ramirez, SS
Marcus Semien, 3B
Jose Abreu, 1B
Avisail Garcia, RF
Dayan Viciedo, LF
Paul Konerko, DH
Carlos Sanchez, 2B
Tyler Flowers, C
Moises Sierra, CF

Pitcher: Chris Bassitt, RHP (0-1, 5.29 ERA)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lineups as Tigers go for a sweep of Royals in KC

The Tigers are looking to finish off a series sweep of the Kansas City Royals, and continue to add to their divisional lead — at 2 1/2 games coming in — over KC. If they were to complete the sweep, it would be just Detroit's third series sweep of the second half, and the first on the road since the trip to Texas on June 24-26.

Detroit leads the season series 13-5, and is 8-1 in Kansas City this season.

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, DH
Victor Martinez, 1B
JD Martinez, LF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Bryan Holaday, C
Andrew Romine, SS
Rajai Davis, CF

Pitcher: Rick Porcello, RHP (15-11, 3.19 ERA)

Alcides Escobar, SS
Nori Aoki, RF
Lorenzo Cain, CF
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Billy Butler, DH
Alex Gordon, LF
Salvador Perez, C
Omar Infante, 2B
Mike Moustakas, 3B

Pitcher: Jeremy Guthrie, RHP (11-11, 4.35 ERA)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tigers go for sweep of Indians with Verlander on the mound

The Tigers go for the three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians Sunday afternoon, trying to maintain their slim lead in the American League Central division. Detroit leads Kansas City by a half-game in the division race, and is currently tied with Oakland for the best record among Wild Card contenders, a game better than Seattle.

Should the Tigers complete the sweep, it would be their first — home or road — since beating the Rockies three straight at Comerica Park on Aug. 1-3.

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, DH
Victor Martinez, 1B
J.D. Martinez, LF
Alex Avila, C
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Andrew Romine, SS
Rajai Davis, CF

Pitcher: Justin Verlander (13-12, 4.82 ERA)

Michael Bourn, CF
Jose Ramirez, SS
Michael Brantley, LF
Carlos Santana, 1B
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Yan Gomes, DH
Daniel Murphy, RF
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Roberto Perez, C

Pitcher: Trevor Bauer, RHP (5-8, 4.12 ERA)

[VIDEO] Torii Hunter's game-saving catch set up Alex Avila's game-winning homer

DETROIT — Alex Avila’s home-run heroics don’t happen with out a little defense, keeping the score in check.

With two outs in the top of the eighth inning, and the Detroit Tigers trailing the Cleveland Indians, 4-3, Torii Hunter robbed Yan Gomes of what was likely a two-run hit, going fully horizontal, laying out to catch the ball just above the ground.

“You know when the ball went up I thought it was going to be caught easily but apparently it didn’t have as much air under it as I thought or it didn’t carry as far as I thought,” said manager Brad Ausmus. “Excellent play by Torii, by Old Man Torii Hunter.”

The 39-year-old Hunter wasn’t sure how much air it had under it, either. Not off the bat.

“Off the bat he had a nice big swing so I kind of just paused for a second, didn’t step back, just paused. Then I heard the sound, it was kind of like a dud sound and I was able to kind of get a good jump on it, knew it was going to be in front of me. It was one of those bleeders, I tried to give it all I had and I was able to get under the ball and make that catch. Pretty pumped up,” Hunter said.

“Just a little bleeder off the end of the bat, just tried to do everything I could right there to get under that ball. It was sinking pretty fast but I just said, ‘Feet don’t fail me now.’”

They didn’t. Hunter managed to sprint in enough to make the diving catch easily. When he got up, Chamberlain was waiting for him on the infield, with his hat raised.

“I’m a fan of baseball just as much as it is my job. Anytime somebody makes a great play, it’s always fun to see,” said Chamberlain.

The pitcher playfully gave Hunter a pat on the behind as he jogged past.

Hunter jokingly said later that he had a red mark because Chamberlain patted him so hard. But he liked the gesture.

“I appreciate that. Those guys are out there trying to throw strikes and trying to get those guys out. They’re professional hitters and he did the job,” Hunter said. “It’s just fitting for us to go out and try to make those plays and do the best you can for the pitcher. They really appreciate that when you make good plays like that.”

Here's the video:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tigers to commemorate Hank Greenberg, celebrate Jewish Heritage Sunday at Comerica Park

DETROIT — Eighty years after Hank Greenberg’s legendary decision not to play on the Jewish High Holidays in a pennant chase, the Detroit Tigers will hold Jewish Heritage Sunday at Comerica Park.

Nicknamed “The Hebrew Hammer,” and the first Jewish ballplayer to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Greenberg was a four-time All-Star and a two-time American League MVP with the Tigers. His No. 5 is retired by the club.

Greenberg chose to play on Rosh Hashanah, and hit two home runs in a 2-1 win over Boston, putting the Tigers 4 1/2 games up, but did not play on Yom Kippur, a 5-2 loss to the Yankees. The Tigers went on to win the 1934 pennant — their first in 25 seasons — by seven games, before losing to the Cardinals in the World Series.

After his playing days, he was also the general manager and part-owner of the Cleveland Indians, the Tigers’ opponent on Sunday afternoon. (He later was the GM and part-owner of the Chicago White Sox, as well.)

A donation will be made to the Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation for each upper box infield or upper reserve ticket sold.

John Rosengren, who penned “Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes,” will be on hand selling copies of his book, as will Aviva Kempner, the director and producer of the film “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.”

Tigers take on Indians for Saturday's Game 2 of AL Central showdown series

The Tigers take on the Cleveland Indians in the second-to-last game of the home stand, hoping to match their high-water mark of the season (16 games over .500) with a win.

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
J.D. Martinez, LF
Alex Avila, C
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Andrew Romine, SS
Rajai Davis, CF

Pitcher: Kyle Lobstein, LHP (1-0, 2.78 ERA)

Michael Bourn, CF
Mike Aviles, SS
Michael Brantley, LF
Carlos Santana, DH
Yan Gomes, C
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Ryan Raburn, RF
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Jesus Aguilar, 1B

Pitcher: Danny Salazar, RHP (6-7, 4.19 ERA)

Click here for:
Friday night's game story (AP)
Friday night's photo gallery (AP)

Friday, September 12, 2014

[VIDEO] Alex Avila, the long lost Flying Wallenda, makes a leaping catch against the protective screen

DETROIT — Alex Avila knows his home ballpark.

So he knew how much room he had on Mike Aviles’ foul pop-up in the fifth inning Friday night, and he knew where the safety net was.

So, like a long-lost member of the Flying Wallendas, Avila jumped up to catch the pop-up, launching himself onto the netting.

He nearly over-jumped it, too, smashing the ball against the heel of his glove, and keeping it pinned as it slid down his arm, nearly as quickly as he was sliding down the net.

[For more on the play, CLICK HERE]

Watch the video below: