The Detroit Tigers will win the American League Central and advance to the postseason.
No, the Tigers haven't clinched the division, but with a 5.5-game lead on the Cleveland Indians and one of the most explosive offenses in baseball, it's only a matter of time before Detroit clinches it's third straight postseason berth.
So now that we have that out of the way, it's time to focus on the Tigers' potential matchups in October.
With the addition of the second wild card this season and a couple close division races, there are several teams vying for a postseason appearance, and the Tigers could play any of them.
Here is a look at the potential AL playoff matchups for the Tigers:
W-L Record: 88-58
Season Series vs. Tigers: 3-4
Standings: 1st in American League East, 8.5 games up on Tampa Bay Rays
The Tigers took three of four against the Boston Red Sox June 20-23, but the Red Sox made the Tigers look very average last week at Fenway Park, holding Detroit to just eight runs in the series, including a devastating 20-4 beat down to ensure a series victory.
With Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz Jon Lackey and others, the Red Sox are one of the only rotations in baseball that rival the Tigers' starters. Buchholz leads the team with a 1.61 ERA in 13 starts and after suffering an injury that kept him out since June, Buchholz came back on Tuesday and picked up where he left off.
As a unit, Red Sox pitchers had a 4.65 ERA against the Tigers this season with 60 strikeouts and 22 walks in seven games.
David Ortiz is leading the Red Sox again in every major hitting category boasting a .310 average with 26 home runs and 90 RBI. While those numbers don't compare to the Tigers' leader Miguel Cabrera, the Red Sox have a deeper team from top to bottom and find a way to get it done on offense.
Red Sox hitters averaged .310 against the Tigers with 11 home runs and 40 RBI, including nine players who averaged over .300 against Detroit.
Boston is one of the only teams standing in the way of Detroit for home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and if the Red Sox clinch home field, and the Tigers have to travel to Fenway Park for a Game 7 in October, Boston has the edge in a potential series.
W-L Record: 83-61
Season Series vs. Tigers: 4-3
Standings: 1st in American League West, 2 games up on Texas Rangers
The Oakland Athletics are one of the other threats to the Tigers for home field advantage throughout the postseason. The A's are one of the best teams at home this season and have the third-best run differential in the AL.
Oakland is one of three American League teams that have a better team ERA than the Tigers.
Bartolo Colon has re-invigorated his career to lead the Athletics starting staff this season with a 15-6 record and a 2.85 ERA. Other than Colon, Oakland has a young, hard-throwing staff that fared extremely well against the Tigers this season.
The A's offense is not as explosive as their pitching staff, but they usually find a way to get it done offensively as well. The A's had 27 extra base hits against the Tigers this season and a team batting average of .285.
The Tigers have a lot of history with the Athletics in the postseason and because of that experience, Detroit would hold the edge in this potential series.
W-L Record: 81-63
Season Series vs. Tigers: 4-3
Standings: 2nd in American League West, 2 games back of Oakland Athletics
The Texas Rangers have dominated the Tigers in the past, both regular season and postseason, so despite only going 4-3 against Detroit this year, the Rangers are a team the Tigers don't want to see this postseason.
Texas pitchers have one of the best team ERA's and batting average against marks in baseball.
The Rangers have one of the best bullpens in the league with a 2.96 ERA and 42 saves, but their starters haven't fared very well against the Tigers this season. Nick Tepesh, who made one start against Detroit, had the best starter ERA in the series with a 3.60 mark, and it gets a lot worse from there.
Adrian Beltre leads the Rangers in every major offensive category this season and against the Tigers, Beltre hasn't missed a beat. While the team averaged .302 against the Tigers this season, Beltre stepped his game up hitting .393 with a home run, five RBI and 17 total bases against Detroit.
Despite the struggles against the Rangers in the past, I think the Tigers hold the edge in this potential series. Although it will probably go down to the wire, the Tigers will finally prevail if these teams meet in the postseason.
W-L Record: 78-65
Season Series vs Tigers: 3-3
Standings: 1.5 games up on the Cleveland Indians for the second wild card spot.
The Tampa Bay Rays and the Tigers haven't played each other since June 30, but with the exception of one blowout game, the two teams played extremely even in the season series.
The Rays are in the middle of the pack in AL pitching stats this season, and the stats were all across the board against the Tigers this year. As a team, Rays pitchers had a 4.25 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP against Detroit.
The Tigers hit eight home runs and earned 57 hits in 53 innings, but when the Rays turned the ball over to their closer, Fernando Rodney shut Detroit down.
Rodney threw four perfect innings in three games earning two saves and a victory.
Although Jose Lobaton, Wil Myers and James Loney destroyed Tigers pitching this season, Detroit kept the Rays offense relatively in check. The Rays hit .224 with just three home runs and 16 RBI in six games.
Matt Joyce, who normally gets the best of his former team, badly struggled against the Tigers this season, hitting just .048 with 1 RBI in six games.
The Tigers would have home field advantage in this potential series and the Rays are one of the worst potential playoff teams on the road this season. Joe Maddon and the Rays might push the Tigers to the brink, but Detroit would eventually prevail.
W-L Record: 77-67
Season Series vs Tigers: 4-2
Standings: 1.5 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild card spot
The Baltimore Orioles are one of the few teams in baseball that made the Tigers look relatively bad in the season series. In their four wins against the Tigers, the Orioles gave up just 12 runs, and with the exception of one lopsided loss, were very difficult for Detroit to handle.
Baltimore has one of the worst team ERA's in the AL with a 4.25 mark, but the bullpen came through against Detroit this season to keep the Tigers' high-powered offense in check.
Six Orioles relievers had a perfect ERA against the Tigers this season, including Troy Patton and closer Jim Johnson who combined for seven scoreless innings in five games.
The Orioles are one of the most efficient offenses in baseball with the fourth-most runs scored this season (676). Baltimore is a team that depends heavily on the long ball, with Chris Davis leading the league in home runs. The Orioles hit 12 homers against the Tigers this season including four from Davis, who's the only person standing in the way of back-to-back Triple Crowns for Miguel Cabrera.
I think the Orioles have the edge in this potential series, but I think this would be the most intriguing matchup the Tigers could face in the postseason.
W-L Record: 77-67
Season Series vs Tigers: 4-15
Standings: 5.5 games back in the American League Central, 1.5 games back of the second wild card spot.
The Tigers dominated the Cleveland Indians this year, taking 15 of 19 games in the season series.
Detroit dominated Cleveland in all aspects, winning 14 out of 15 games at one point.
The Tigers batted .301 as a team against the Indians this year including one player who averaged over .400 and six players who averaged over .300 against the Tribe.
Indians pitching put up a .589 ERA against Tigers hitters and 156 strikeouts and 80 walks in 171 innings. Cleveland's starters rarely fared well against the Tigers as five pitchers who made at least two starts against Detroit suffered an ERA of 4.74 or worse.
While the Tigers averaged .301 as a team against the Indians, Cleveland only batted .223 as a team against Detroit. The Indians only managed 3.6 runs per game in their 19 contests against the Tigers with several regular players including Mike Aviles, Mark Reynolds and Drew Stubbs averaging under .200.
The Tigers clearly have the edge against the Indians in all phases.
The proof is in the domination during the season series and if the Tigers were to face the Indians in the ALCS, many minds would be on a Tigers sweep