The Detroit Tigers have won the American League Central and will open the playoffs at home on Saturday, with Justin Verlander on the mound.
Miguel Cabrera is on the verge of winning baseball’s first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski accomplished the feat in 1967.
The only person really standing in Cabrera’s way is Texas’ Josh Hamilton, who’s just one behind Cabrera in the home-run category, 44-43. Cabrera has solid leads in the other two Triple Crown stats, batting average and RBIs.
Hamilton and his Rangers play the Oakland Athletics this afternoon (3:35 ET) with the winner securing the AL West and the loser settling for a wild-card spot.
So Cabrera will very likely know before tonight’s first pitch (8:10 ET on FOX Sports Detroit) in Kansas City if the Crown is his.
If the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox tonight (7:05 ET), they will win the AL East. That scenario makes the Tigers’ AL Division Series opponent clear. They will face the Rangers-Athletics winner.
If the Yankees lose and the Baltimore Orioles lose and Texas beats Oakland, the Tigers get Texas. If the Yankees and the Orioles lose and Oakland beats Texas, the Tigers get the Yankees. (Either way, losses by both the Yankees and Orioles gives the Yankees an AL East title and the Orioles a wild-card spot.)
If, however, the Yankees lose and the Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays tonight (7:10 ET), then it gets totally complicated.
As of now, the Tigers could open the playoffs against any of the four AL teams already qualified: Yankees, Orioles, Rangers or Athletics.