Four teams have so far clinched their spot in the 2014 MLB postseason, but soon there will be more, as the Detroit Tigers took another step towards winning the AL Central after beating the Kansas City Royals 3-2 to extend their lead in the division, while the Oakland A’s, not too long ago the best team in baseball, continue their remarkable collapse with a 3-0 loss at home against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Tigers, the best hitting team in Baseball during a season of less than impressing batting averages all around, have now improved to 12-6 during September. Four of these wins have come against the Royals, turning the tables in the AL Central and once again grabbing the top spot in the divisions with just one more game left in the series between the two teams before the Tigers take a seven-game home stand against the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins.
The Tigers now hold a 2.5 game lead over the Royals following their 3-2 win, rescued by some slick fielding from Hernan Perez at the end of the game. Max Scherzer had another excellent performance with just one earned run given up in seven innings while striking out six. This wasn’t the best of hitting performances for the Tigers, but they did get a home run from Torii Hunter, his 17th this season, while the Royals were left kicking themselves after going just 2-of-11 with runners in scoring positions. The Royals have a 0.5 game lead over the Mariners for the last spot in the Wild Card game.
Way out West, there’s a different trend. The Oakland A’s have just lost their second game in the series to the Phillies, this time 3-0. They’ve fallen 11.5 games behind the Angles in the AL West, but the wild card spot is in danger. They’re only one game ahead of the Mariners for one of the wild card spots, and with a September form that has seen them win just six times in 18 games, it seems it’ll be very difficult for them to hang on to that spot.
They still have one more game against the Phillies who are hoping to sweep the series, three against the Angels (in Oakland) and then a four-game finish against the Rangers. There’s still time to make things better, even with a slight margin of error. But the A’s are in a downward spiral since making that Cespedes trade, still not realizing how to slow it down.
The special thing about their loss? Jerome Williams, beating the A’s for a third time this season with his third team. He has also played for the Rangers and Astros and picked up wins against Oakland, a first for any pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball.