Have the Detroit Tigers literally thrown their playoff chances away?
For the second consecutive day, Detroit's inability to complete a seeming routine double play played a key role in a loss.
Two "not quite" midgame turns Sunday contributed to Detroit eventually losing 7-6 to the Indians in Cleveland.
On Monday, an excellent takeout slide at second by the Chicago White Sox's Alex Rios caused Omar Infante to throw the relay of a double-play attempt into the dirt at first base.
The ball flattened out, squirted between the legs of first baseman Prince Fielder and shot into the dugout as two runs scored -- the two runs that turned a 4-3 White Sox deficit into a 5-4 victory that expanded Chicago's lead over Detroit to three games in the AL Central with 16 left.
"We had a tough double play that we didn't turn," manager Jim Leyland said flatly. "Rios got down there pretty good, and we didn't turn that double play."
It was the ninth consecutive one-run game Detroit has lost. Of the Tigers' last 11 defeats, nine have come by one run.
"We had a few chances to get a little bit more early," Leyland said. "I thought the bullpen did a terrific job. Both bullpens did actually."
Chicago's relievers retired the last 14 Detroit hitters in order. After an RBI single up the middle by Delmon Young in the fifth gave Detroit the lead back at 4-3, Jhonny Peralta hit into a double play, and the Tigers never had another baserunner.
"There's plenty of time if you win games," Leyland said. "If you don't win games, then you run out of time.
"But if you win games, there's plenty of time. I think that's the way I would look at it. That's the perspective that I would keep it in myself. The fact of the matter is you have to win games. If you win games, there's plenty of time left."
Tough to do, though, if you keep throwing them away.