The Tigers remain home after the skid-stopping series split (try to say that five times fast) with the Blue Jays to play host to the Kansas City Royals.
The Tigers were able to weather the storm of the five game losing streak thanks to some equally poor play from the Twin Cities, but they can't count on the Twins "having their back" the rest of the way.
This Royals series begins the final stretch of the season.
All nineteen games from here on out will be played against Central Division foes.
Let's hope this stretch begins with a bit of revenge, to erase the memory of last week's sweep at the hands of the Royals.
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 7:05 PM
Robinson Tejeda (2-1, 3.21) vs. Jarrod Washburn (9-8, 3.60)
I'm not too excited to see Mr. Tejeda toe the hill again, and I'm sure the Tigers hitters feel likewise.
Tejeda saddled Justin Verlander with a loss six days ago in Kansas City, throwing six innings of shutout ball while striking out eight Tigers.
The last run he allowed came way back on August 7. This guy's some kinda hot right now.
Jarrod Washburn's last outing ended with a no-decision in a Tigers loss at Kansas City last week.
Washburn's last (and only) win in a Tiger uniform came on August 25.
Getting a solid performance out of Washburn would be a huge boost to a Tigers staff, which has struggled as of late. No one would argue that Washburn has been a huge disappointment in a Detroit uniform so far.
Wednesday, Sept. 16, 7:05 PM
Lenny DiNardo (0-0, 3.60) vs. Eddie Bonine (0-0, 6.11)
DiNardo pitched well a week ago against the Tigers.
He made his season debut, limiting the Tigers to two runs over five innings, but did not factor into the decision. The Tigers didn't lack for hits in the game—they totaled fifteen—but four double plays and ten runners left on base erased their hopes of a win.
Eddie Bonine will make just his second start for the Tigers in 2009.
His previous start came in a win against the White Sox. Manager Jim Leyland has announced that Bonine will remain in the rotation for the duration of the regular season.
Bonine won't overpower hitters and he's likely to allow some hits, so the defense needs to be on their toes.
In the same way, the Tiger hitters will need to be ready to swing the bat against DiNardo who should also prove to be hittable.
Thursday, Sept. 17, 1:05 PM
Zach Greinke (13-8, 2.19) vs. Edwin Jackson (12-6, 3.22)
The Tigers aren't fortunate enough to miss Greinke for a second straight series.
He's my vote for the American League Cy Young Award (although I don't officially have a BWAA Badge) and has dominated almost everyone almost all season. The only reason Greinke may not win the award is because his offense is usually too inept to score him any runs (sound familliar?).
The Tigers will send out Edwin Jackson, who's had his own run support issues this season.
Jackson, who has struggled since the All Star break, will need to dial it in if the Tigers hope to escape with a win against Greinke.
Around the AL Central
Tigers: KAN 9/15-9/17, MIN 9/18-9/20
Twins: CLE 9/14-9/16, @DET 9/18-9/20
White Sox: @SEA 9/15-9/17, KAN 9/18-9/20
Indians: @MIN 9/14-9/16, @OAK 9/17-9/20
Royals: @DET 9/15-9/17, @CWS 9/18-9/20
The Tigers magic number is 14.
This is the total number of Tiger wins and second place team losses needed for the Tigers to secure their first division championship since 1987.
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