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Plots to watch as the Tigers enter the final week of the regular season

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KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 21:  Manager Jim Leyland #10 and Jose Valverde #46 of the Detroit Tigers celebrate a 6-3 win over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on September 21, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 21: Manager Jim Leyland #10 and Jose Valverde #46 of the Detroit Tigers celebrate a 6-3 win over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on September 21, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Tigers open a four game series with the Orioles tonight. They host the Indians for a three game series next week. Seven games left in the regular season. Man, where did time go?

But there's still a lot of baseball to be played for the AL Central Division champions. (Yes, I just like to write those words.)

On top this final week:

  • Jacob Turner is making his third MLB start tonight. He's still looking for his first MLB win.
  • Justin Verlander goes for his 25th win on Saturday
  • At 90 wins, the Tigers have a chance to match their 2006 win total (95).
  • Jose Valverde has a chance at 50 saves. It's not a high priority, not something the Tigers will try to force. But he only needs 3 to reach that point.
  • Carlos Guillen and Al Alburquerque have to show their manager they are healthy and able to contribute in order to make the playoff roster
  • The Tigers may still have some questions about who the 24th and 25th men to add to their playoff roster are.
  • Playoff seeding.

I'll just look a bit closer at that now.

The Yankees have 95 wins today. I think we can safely assume they'll be the No. 1 seed.

Detroit and Texas both have 90s wins. The Tigers won the season series, so they hold the tie breaker there.

The wild card is still up for grabs. Boston has a 2.5 game lead, and it's not just against the Rays any more. The Angels are 2.5 games out as well.

Updated the most at 1:21 to try to make this easier to read.

If the AL standings are like this:

1. New York
2. Detroit
3. Texas
WC: Boston or Tampa Bay

the ALDS would be:

Wild card at Detroit, Texas at New York.

If the AL standings are like this:

1. New York
2. Texas
3. Detroit
WC: Boston or Tampa Bay

then the ALDS would be

Wild card at Texas, Detroit at New York

If the AL standings are like this:

1. New York
2. Detroit
3. Texas
WC: LA Angels

then the ALDS would be

Texas at Detroit, Angels at Yankees

If the AL standings are like this:

1. New York
2. Texas
3. Detroit
WC: LA Angels

then the ALDS would be

Detroit at Texas, Angels at Yankees

Glad we could, er, clear that up?

To me, one of the first two scenarios is most likely because I don't think Boston will actually blow the wild card. The third scenario seems possible if Boston remains cold and the Angels get hot. The fourth scenario seems unlikely because the Rangers and Angels play three games. For the Angels to make the playoffs, they're going to have to beat the Rangers a few times. Unless the Tigers hit a deep skid, they'd almost certainly finish with the second seed in that scenario.

In theory, the Rangers or Tigers could still be the No. 1 seed, but that's pretty darn unlikely at this point thanks to New York's 5 game lead. Also in theory, the Angels could win the West. But again, a 5 game differential makes it near impossible.

So you'll want to be scoreboard watching for all those games this week. And definitely root against the Rangers if you want to be guaranteed two playoff games in Detroit.

Finally, some interesting stats from today's game notes. The Tigers have won 25 of their last 32 games for a .781 rate. Wow. Tigers starters have a 304 ERA over the club's last 18 games. If Turner earns a win today, it would make 70 wins by starters this year. It would be the 12th time since 1946 Tigers starters recorded 70 wins. (2006's team had 75.)

Finally, Lee Panas noted the Tigers have won at least 90 games for the 18th time in franchise history. Lee has some charts and facts at his site today.