You gotta love the one game playoff. Tonight the Detroit Tigers travel to Minnesota to face the Twins in a Do-Or-Die playoff game to decide the American League Central. The game marks the 9th time and the third consecutive season a one game playoff was needed to settle a playoff spot. The Tigers will send rookie right hander Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.04 ERA) to the mound in their attempt to avoid relinquishing a division lead they have held since May 10th against the Twins right hander Scott Baker (15-9, 4.36 ERA), who has been Minnesota's best pitcher down the stretch. Baker beat the Tigers on Thursday to give the Twins a split in their 4 game series in Detroit. In that game he went 5 innings and gave up only 1 unearned run. Porcello has had 2 straight quality starts vs. the Twins in the past 3 weeks but has received only 2 runs of support combined in those 2 games. The winner's celebration will be short-lived however as the AL East champion New York Yankees and their gang of superstars awaits the winner for an AL Divisional Series match up.
Here's a look at the previous 8 one-game playoffs...
1948- The Cleveland Indians beat the Boston Red Sox 8-3 at Fenway Park to win the American League Pennant. The Tribe would go on to beat the Boston Braves and capture the World Series Title.
1978- 30 years later, this time the Yankees beat the Red Sox 5-4, again at Fenway Park to capture the AL East Crown. The Yanks would go on to beat the Dodgers in the World Series.
1980- The Houston Astros beat the LA Dodgers in Dodger Stadium 7-1 and win the NL West title. The 'Stros would eventually lose the NLCS to the Phillies. Ya Gotta Believe!
1995- The Seattle Mariners with Ken Griffery Jr. running the bases and Randy Johnson doing some pitching defeat the California Angels 9-1 in the Kingdome in Seattle to win the AL West title. The Mariners would lose in the ALCS to the Indians.
1998- The Cubs beat the Giants 5-3 at Wrigley to win the NL Wild Card. The Cubs' playoff experience wouldn't last long as they would drop their next series in the NLDS to the Braves.
1999- The New York Mets shutout the Reds at Cinergy Field in Cincinnati to capture the NL
Wild Card. The Mets would eventually lose to their divisional rival Atlanta Braves in the NLCS.
2007- In what is likely the greatest one-game playoff ever played, the Colorado Rockies defeated the San Diego Padres 9-8 in 13 innings to win the NL Wild Card at Coors Field in Denver Colorado. The Rox stormed through the NL postseason only to fade in the World Series against the Red Sox.
2008- The Chicago White Sox defeated the Minnesota Twins, yes those same Twins, 1-0 at US Cellular Field in Chicago to capture the AL Central crown. The Sox would lose in the AL division series to the World Series runner-up Tampa Bay Rays.
My Pick...The home team has won 4 of the last 5 one-game playoffs, the Twins have been playing great baseball of late, the Tigers are playing to not lose instead of playing to win, the Twins have the best pure hitter in baseball in their lineup in Joe Mauer, Delmon Young is starting to hit like they thought he would, and Michael Cuddyer has been doing a great job filling in at first base for the injured Justin Morneau. Scott Baker does just enough, Joe Nathan gets the call in the 9th, and Ron Gardenhire and his Twinkies get it done in the Homer Dome, they don't want to close the Metrodome with a loss. Twins 6 Tigers 4.