With the Tigers chasing the Rangers for homefield advantage in the playoffs, Detroit fans were hoping that the Angels would win their last two games of the season. The Angels are facing the Rangers, and a couple of Texas losses would really help as the Tigers try to make a run at homefield advantage.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, the Angels have thrown in the towel for the 2011 season. They were eliminated from playoff contention on Monday and in turn have decided to scratch starting pitchers Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver from the final two games. This means the Rangers' path to homefield advantage just became much easier.
The one positive thing about this is it also means Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander has clinched the American League pitching Triple Crown. Verlander wasn't going to be caught in wins or strikeouts, but Weaver was barely trailing him in ERA. With Weaver not set to pitch again this season, the stats won't change, meaning Verlander will finish as the leader in all three categories.
1. Justin Verlander - 24
2. CC Sabathia - 19
1. Justin Verlander - 250
2. CC Sabathia - 230
1. Justin Verlander - 2.40
2. Jered Weaver - 2.41
With Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw already clinching the National League pitching Triple Crown, history has been made now that Verlander's Triple Crown is clinched for the AL. According to ESPN Stats & Info, this is the first time there have been dual pitching Triple Crowns since 1924 when Walter Johnson and Dazzy Vance pulled off the feat in the same season. Interestingly enough, Kershaw is a childhood friend of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is becoming Detroit's big-time thrower on the football field.