Twins, Tigers Need Help Today
The Twins and Tigers will need help from the White Sox and Royals to clinch the AL Central title on the last day of the season.
After 161 games there still could be a tie if both teams win or lose today. However for either team to win the AL Central on the last day of the season they will have to depend on the White Sox or Royals to defeat the other contending team.
The Twins had to get a well pitched game from Nick Blackburn and he outpitched Zack Greinke on the next to last day of the regular season. Blackburn allowed two runs in seven innings while Greinke gave up four runs in a game for the first time since August 19.
Micheal Cuddyer hit his 31st homer of the season in the eighth inning to break a 4-4 tie and Delmon Young drove in three more runs giving him eight RBI’s in the last two games. Joe Nathan who lives here in Knoxville, Tennessee nailed the game down with his 47th save.
If the season ends with the Twins and Tigers tied for first place they will have to wait till Tuesday to play their one game playoff on Tuesday since the Vikings will be playing the Packers in the Metrodome on Monday night.
Today’s game will match Carl Pavano (13-12) pitching on three day’s rest against Luke Hochevar (7-12). Hochevar has only won one game since July 25 and has pitched extremely well and extremely bad this season.
He has pitched two complete game three hitters this season with one of the games being a shutout. On the other hand he has given up five or more runs in ten of his starts.
TBS will be showing the Rockies-Dodgers game according to the broadcast schedule at MLB.com. The White-Sox – Tigers game will be shown on WGN at 1 ET according to the schedule at cbssports.com. There is no national coverage of the Twins – Royals series scheduled unless the MLB Network covers it.
Regardless MLB Network will be covering the action in both games closely with live look-ins and updates.
White Sox Help Twins
By Defeating Tigers 5-1
All of the Twins players should be sending Christmas cards to Freddy Garcia and Alex Rios after Garcia defeated the Tigers 5-1 and Rios hit safely four times and drove in three runs.
Garcia showed the Tigers he was not the same pitcher he was the week before when he was pounded for seven runs by the Tigers on September 26. The veteran Garcia pitched seven innings allowing one run and struck out seven.
It is questionable why Alfredo Figaro started such an important game but he was given an early hook by Jim Leyland. Figaro gave up three hits, two walks and a home run while getting only four batters out.
The White Sox ran wild on Tigers catcher Gerald Laird stealing six bases off him and four different pitchers.
This afternoon the Tigers will be starting their ace Justin Verlander (18-9) while the White Sox will send John Danks (13-10) to the mound.
Dodgers Clinch NL West
Behind Kershaw Gem
I can recall watching Clayton Kershaw pitching for the Jacksonville Suns in spring of 2008 here in Knoxville against the Smokies and he lost to Jeff Samardzija and the Tennessee Smokies that night.
Last night he pitched the Dodgers to a 5-0 win with a much larger crowd on hand over the Rockies limiting them to no runs, three hits and struck out 10 in six innings. Five different players drove in runs for the Dodgers so it was a team effort as they clinched the 2009 NL West title.
Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa left the game with an injury and he and Jose Contreras held the Dodgers scoreless the first six innings. However Franklin Morales gave up all five Dodger runs in the seventh inning to take the loss. Hong-Chih Kuo took the win in relief for the Dodgers.
Goals and Notes For Last Day Of Season
Miguel Tejada needs two hits on the last day of the season for 200 hits while Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera need three and four hits respectively.
Mark Teixeira is a home run short of 40 home runs while Adam Dunn needs two home runs to have 40 home runs exactly for his fifth straight season.
Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Markakis and Jayson Werth need one RBI to have 100 RBI season.
Mark Reynolds has struck out 220 times this season shattering his 2008 record of 204 strikeouts. He is 34 strikeouts ahead of second place Ryan Howard with 186.
Jacoby Ellsbury needs one stolen base to reach 70 stolen bases.