The Detroit Tigers haven’t won a division title in 22 years. They’ve never been AL Central champs.
With an opportunity to accomplish both feats in 2009, Detroit opens the final full month of the season Tuesday night when it hosts the Cleveland Indians.
The Tigers (69-61) won the wild card in 2006 and advanced to the World Series before losing to St. Louis, but they have yet to win a Central title since moving over from the East in 1998. Detroit last won that division in 1987.
The Tigers didn’t close out August like they would have liked - allowing six first-inning runs and losing 11-7 to visiting Tampa Bay on Monday - but at 42-22 at Comerica Park, they still have one of the league’s best home records.
“The one goal I do have is to go into September and still be playing for something,” manager Jim Leyland told the club’s official Web site Sunday.
Detroit has won eight of 12 against Cleveland this season, including four of six at home.
Taking the ball in the opener of this three-game series, the right-hander is looking to bounce back from his first loss since July 19. Jackson walked four and allowed four runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings in Wednesday’s 4-2 loss at Los Angeles.
Jackson is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three starts against the Indians this season.
Acquired in the July 29 trade that sent reigning AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee(notes) and outfielder Ben Francisco(notes) to Philadelphia, the 22-year-old right-hander went 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA for Triple-A Columbus after the deal.
“He’s improved since he’s come over here, I think,” manager Eric Wedge told the Indians’ official Web site. “He’s done a better job of working through the ballgame and getting a little deeper into the game.”
Designated hitter Travis Hafner(notes) could return to Cleveland’s lineup Tuesday pending the results of Monday’s examination of his sore left shoulder. He is 4 for 9 with a home run lifetime against Jackson.
Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera(notes) had a first-inning single Monday to snap an 0-for-12 slide. He is batting .391 with two homers and five RBIs in six home games against the Indians this season.