Twins Score 13 Runs To Tie Tigers in AL Central
The Twins may have had an eye on the scoreboard to see what the Tigers were doing in Detroit but they took care of business themselves defeating the Royals 13-4.
Luke Hochevar struggled from the first inning on giving up a three run homer to Jason Kubel and a solo homer to Delmon Young before the frame had ended with the Twins ahead 4-0.
Kubel would hit another three run homer off of Hochevar in the third inning and Young would hit another solo homer off of reliever Anthony Lerew in the fifth inning.
Kubel hit three homers and drove in eight runs during the three game series while Young hit three homers and drove in ten runs in the series. Kubel and Young combined to hit six homers and drive in 18 runs during the series.
Carl Pavano let the Royals back in the game allowing the Royals to close the gap to 8-4 in the sixth inning. The Royals scoring ended after Pavano left the game with six relievers keeping the Royals scoreless the rest of the game.
The Twins scored in all but two innings in the game with Kubel driving in six runs which gave him 102 RBI’s so far this season.
Verlander Pitches Tigers
To 5-3 Win Over White Sox
Justin Verlander pitched the Tigers to a 5-3 victory over the White Sox on the final day of the regular season. The Tigers were hoping to save Verlander for first game of ALDS but they had to start him yesterday to keep their AL Central title hopes alive.
Verlander pitched seven strong innings but allowed the White Sox to score three times in the eighth inning. Ironically he had more of a problem with the bottom of the White Sox order.
The first eight players listed in the boxscore for the White Sox were 3-23 while the bottom three players were 4-8 against the Tigers. Brent Lillibridge who had driven in one run in 93 at bats before the game hammered a single through the center of the diamond that scored the last two White Sox runs.
Lillibridge only had two doubles for his only extra base hits this season and his slugging percentage of .179 was almost as low as his batting average of .158.
Ryan Raburn homered twice to provide most of the offense for the Tigers while Magglio Ordonez was 4-4 against his former team.
John Danks barely reached his goal of 200 innings pitched but it wasn’t his day as he struck out one batter while walking four. The one strikeout was a season low for Danks.
Last season Danks gave up only 15 homers in 195 innings but in five more innings in 2009 he has given up 28 homers.
The Tigers will have to wait till Tuesday to play the Twins because Bret Favre and Aaron Rodgers will be throwing footballs instead of baseballs tonight when the Vikings and Packers battle each other.
The Twins and Tigers will take the field at the Metrodome for the opening pitch about 17 hours after the completion of the Vikings-Packers game.
The three NL division leaders have not played well in their last ten games with the Cardinals 2-8 and the Phillies and Dodgers 4-6 in their last ten games.
The Yankees and Angels who are the AL East and AL West champions have both played 7-3 baseball in their last ten games….The Nationals finished the season with a seven game winning streak.
The Royals and Indians ended their seasons tied for last place in the AL Central 30 games behind the Twins and Tigers and after Tuesday’s tie breaker they will be 30 and-a-half games behind the winner of that game.
Four players ended the 2009 season with 200 hits. Ichiro Suzuki led the four with 225 hits, Derek Jeter 212 hits, Robinson Cano with 204 and Ryan Braun was the only NL player with 200 hits with 203. Miguel Tejada fell one hit short of 200 hits.
Ian Kinsler was the only major leaguer to post a 30-30 season with 31 homers and 31 stolen bases. Matt Kemp was the only player that came close to a 30-30 season with 26 homers and 34 stolen bases.
Alex Rodriguez became the 30th player to have 30 homers in 2009 when he hit his 29th and 30th homers of the season….No AL player hit 40 homers this season with Mark Teixeira and Carlos Pena finishing the season with 39 roundtrippers.
Albert Pujols held on to his home run title despite a late charge by Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard. Pujols finished with 47 followed by Fielder with 46, Howard with 45 and Mark Reynolds with 44. Reynolds set a new strikeout record by striking out 223 times in 2009. He is the only player that has struck out more than 200 times in a season.
27 players had 100 runs batted in during the 2009 season. Jorge Cantu didn’t play yesterday but had driven in six runs in the prior three games to give him 100 RBI’s even for the season. Alex Rodriguez drove in seven runs yesterday which gave him 100 exactly and is his twelfth consecutive season to drive in 100 or more runs.
Even though Rodriguez missed 38 games this season he still hit 30 homers and drove in 100 runs and has hit 583 lifetime homers. He should hit his 600th homer in June or July of the 2010 season.
He has an amazing 1706 runs batted at the age of 34. He passed Frank Thomas and Reggie Jackson yesterday with his seven RBI game and is 21st on the RBI list with Honus Wagner next with 1732. He is tied for 8th on the all time homer list with Mark McGwire with each having 583 and Frank Robinson is next with 586.
Now the question is if Rodriguez can hit in the postseason. He has been 7-44 over his last three postseasons. He has hit a double and a home run and has driven in only one run in those three postseasons.
Pablo Sandoval had 15 too many at bats in 2008 to be a rookie this season but was the fifth best hitter in the majors with his .330 batting average. Despite weighing 245 pounds Sandoval hit 44 doubles and five triples during the 2009 season. Only Miguel Tejada and Albert Pujols had more doubles than Sandoval.
Homer Bailey (8-5) finished the season with a 6-1 record in his last ten starts while lowering his ERA from 7.48 to 4.53 during that span. He has allowed two or less runs in seven of those starts. He has given up only two homers in his last 58 innings and both of those came in the same game. He has allowed a homer in only two of his last 11 starts.
The Reds have the nucleus of a good starting rotation for the 2010 season. Bronson Arroyo won 15 games to lead the staff but was only two games over .500.Their problem is keeping their pitchers healthy with Edinson Volquez and Aaron Harang out a significant part of the season.
Johnny Cueto improved over the 2008 season while Justin Lehr defeated the Cardinals, Cubs and Brewers among his five wins. Hopefully Bailey can follow up his 2009 season ending performance with a good start next April. He won’t be 24 till next May so time is on his side.