CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 11: Fans in the upper deck cheer during the fifth inning of the game between the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on August 11, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Tigers Beat Tribe 5-4; Cleveland Finishes 2nd In The AL Central, But Under .500

Something to play for for both the Indians and the Tigers

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The Books Will Close Tonight On The Indians' 2011 Season

I will give a brief capsule here about what is at stake tonight in Detroit for each team as the Indians get set to do battle for the last time in 2011 against the Tigers.

First, for the Tribe, at game time there will either be one or two goals. One goal that will be a certainty will be trying to get a win and to thus finish the season at .500. The second goal could be taken care of before the Indians take the field. If the Toronto Blue Jays can beat the Chicago White Sox this afternoon, Cleveland will be guaranteed to finish in second place in the American League Central. But should Toronto lose, the Tribe will have to win tonight to secure the runner-up spot behind the Tigers all for themselves.

Detroit’s incentive tonight will be just a wee bit higher. Here their incentive is in a nutshell: win and watch the Rangers lose and the Tigers and Texas would finish tied with the second-best record in the league, the Tigers would win the tiebreaker (based on a better head-to-head record vs. Texas) and Detroit would open the playoffs at home against the Wild Card winner, either the Red Sox or the Rays; or lose, or have the Rangers win later this evening, and have to face the Yankees in the first round with New York having the home field advantage.

Powerful incentive for the Tigers indeed.

Zach McAllister (0-1) gets the start for The Good Guys tonight, and will be opposed by Detroit’s Rick Porcello (14-9).

And then — and then it will be over…but for the sighing of Tribe fans as they ponder yet another year come and gone with no title.

Go Tribe — and good luck in the playoffs, Tigers, whoever it is that you happen to end up playing.

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Indians Vs. Tigers Final: Detroit Wins 9-6 As Tribe Loses Chance To Finish Above .500

The Detroit Tigers took care of their business again last night, disposing of the Indians 9-6 in a game that was more competitive than Monday’s game but had the same result, as a loss is a loss is a loss.

Cleveland falls to 80-81 on the season and thus cannot finish above .500. The Tribe can still finish at the break-even point with a win in the season finale on Wednesday night.

Unfortunately for The Good Guys, the Tigers will have much to play for on Wednesday. Detroit trails the Texas Rangers by one game for playoff positioning in the American League, but owns the tiebreaker over the Rangers and would thus find themselves with home field advantage and playing the AL Wild Card if they could catch Texas on Wednesday. Otherwise, Detroit would have to open the playoffs on the road vs. the Yankees.

The Tigers struck early on Tuesday and built a 6-1 lead before the Indians came back and made a game of it. Jeanmar Gomez’s five-game winning streak ended, flying away on the strength of three Detroit homers, two of which came off of Jeanmar.

Wilson Betemit, Delmon Young and Miguel Cabrera all homered for Detroit, while the Indians were kept in the yard by Tigers’ starter Max Scherzer and five relievers. Scherzer took the win to move to 15-9, with Jose Valverde picking up his 48th save in as many chances.

Shelley Duncan got the Tribe on the board in the fourth with a double that scored Jim Thome and cut the Indians’ deficit to 4-1, but Detroit answered with two of their own to lead by five.

In the fifth Cleveland added a run with the benefit of a wild pitch to make it 6-2, but the Tigers once again scored a pair in their half to lead by six and finishing Gomez’s night.

Jason Donald drove in two with a single in the sixth, making it 8-4, but the Tribe left the bases loaded when Kosuke Fukudome struck out against reliever Dan Schlereth, and Cabrera’s homer off of Chad Durbin in the home half restored the Detroit lead to five.

Thome’s double and Lonnie Chisenhall’s single cut it to 9-6 with one out in the seventh, but the Indians stranded two when reliever Ryan Perry induced a pair of ground outs, and the Tribe managed only one more baserunner the rest of the evening.

So the season will end on Wednesday night with the Tribe perhaps needing a win to fend off the White Sox and to claim undisputed second place in the AL Central. Chicago finishes their season with an afternoon game at home against the Blue Jays, so the Indians should know their status by the time their own game starts.

Not that there will be a lot of scoreboard watching going on on the Cleveland side of the diamond. Now, on the Detroit side…

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Jeanmar Gomez Shoots For 6 Wins In A Row Tuesday Night

The Indians take another crack at the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night in the second-to-last game of the Tribe’s season as Cleveland sends Jeanmar Gomez in search of his sixth win in a row against Detroi’t Max Scherzer.

The Tigers now know that if they do not finish with the second-best record in the American League, they will have to face the New York Yankees in the first round. Since Boston and Tampa Bay are the final two contenders for the AL Wild Card and neither can play New York in the first round (since they are in the same division with the Yankees and the Yankees will finish with the best record in the AL, New York will play the third-best division winner), Detroit will either open in New York this weekend, or host the Wild Card winner, should they finish ahead of the Rangers.

Gomez has not lost since July 17, and has won every start he has made since his last recall from Columbus. In his five-game winning streak, Jeanmar has worked 30 innings and has allowed only six earned runs. That translates to a nifty 1.80 ERA over that span.

Gomez is 1-1 vs. Detroit in his career with a 4.60 ERA in 15.2 innings of work. He faced the Tigers on April 29, but was not involved in the decision in a 9-5 Tribe win. In that one, Gomez gave up ten hits but only three earned runs in 5.2 frames.

Scherzer (14-9, 4.37 ERA) is 3-3 lifetime in seven starts vs. The Good Guys, with a 4.79 ERA in 41.1 innings. Scherzer got the win in his last outing against Cleveland on August 19, going seven innings and surrendering just one run on five hits in a 4-1 Detroit win.

Tomorrow night at 7:05 the season wraps up for the Indians, when Zach McAllister (0-1) goes for the Tribe against Rick Porcello (like Scherzer, 14-9).

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Indians Vs. Tigers Final: Tribe Puts Up Little Resistance In 14-0 Loss

The Indians came into tonight’s game hoping to put a dent in Detroit’s postseason positioning, but Doug Fister and the Tigers would have none of it, jumping ahead early, adding a big 8-run eighth inning, and riding Fister’s eight scoreless innings en route to a 14-0 win that dropped Cleveland back to .500 at 80-80.

Ubaldo Jimenez did not have much tonight, giving up six runs on nine hits in only five innings. The bullpen did not fare much better, as Corey Kluber gave up four runs in two frames and Josh Judy was charged with four in one inning of work

Only Matt LaPorta had more than one hit off of Fister (11-13), whose ERA dropped to 2.83. Jimenez, on the other hand, fell to 4-4 with the Indians as his ERA climbed to 5.10.

Delmon Young had the only homer of the game, a three-run blast in the eighth off of Judy, but Detroit added five doubles and a triple on their way to 18 hits, as the Tigers climbed to within a half-game of Texas for the second-best record in the American League. Conversely, the Indians were held to four hits.

The Tribe will try again on Tuesday night when Jeanmar Gomez goes for his sixth win in a row vs. Detroit’s Max Scherzer.

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