MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - INSIDE PITCH


DETROIT -- It barely matters that the Detroit Tigers had to struggle through a 162-game season.

Now they have reached a postseason that has frustrated three years in a row.

The Tigers clinched the American League Central Division title for a fourth straight year Sunday with a 3-0 vanquishing of the Minnesota Twins.

Two players imported strictly to help Detroit get beyond the regular season again -- July 31 acquisition David Price and offseason pickup Ian Kinsler -- led the way in the clincher. Price pitched shutout ball for 7 1/3 innings while Kinsler drove in two of the Tigers' three runs.

"Over 162 games you're going to have a lot of high moments and you're going to have a lot of down moments," Alex Avila said. "You've got to put yourselves in position to play meaningful games in September. That's all you can ask for."

As to what's ahead, Detroit may have to open its American League Division Series at Baltimore without sparkplug center fielder Rajai Davis, who suffered a pelvic area injury Saturday night.

"The fact we don't play until Thursday, that's a big plus," Tigers head trainer Kevin Rand said.

Rand saidhe would have a better idea of the chances of Davis playing after another day or two of treatment.

"Explosiveness is his game," Rand said.

Manager Brad Ausmus indicated his staff would meet Monday to formalize a playoff roster for Baltimore. It can be changed between rounds but also during a playoff in case of an incapacitating injury.

He would not name a starting pitcher, either, because Sunday was reserved for enjoying the clinching.

It will come down to Justin Verlander, who in past seasons has been accorded the honor of leading off, or Max Scherzer, who has been Detroit's best pitcher the last two years. Price and Rick Porcello round out the postseason rotation with Anibal Sanchez in the bullpen.

Detroit will go with six relief pitchers with Sanchez one of the six. They'll have to decide between Blaine Hardy and Kyle Lobstein as the left-handed complement for Phil Coke.

It appears outfielder Tyler Collins will take the spot of the displaced reliever. He's a left-handed batter off the bench who was successful in September.

Detroit felt it was capable of winning the World Series a year ago but was ousted by Boston in the AL Championship Series, a series turned around when David Ortiz parked a grand slam off Joaquin Benoit to win one game and a solo home run gave the Red Sox the key blow in another of its 4-2 series win.

The year before, the San Francisco Giants swept Detroit in the World Series.

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MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - NOTES, QUOTES