The Tigers locked up a spot in the postseason with their 4-2 win on Tuesday, the first time they're headed for the playoffs in three straight years since 1907-1909. However, their magic number for clinching a third consecutive American League Central title is at one, and they will need another win, or an Indians loss, to seal their spot atop the division.
Max Scherzer, who leads the Majors with 20 wins, is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts against Minnesota this season, striking out 16 in 13 1/3 innings. He will be making his final regular-season start as he puts the finishing touches on his case as the favorite to win the AL Cy Young Award.
"You relish these moments," Scherzer said. "You play the game to win. You play the game to be on top. And tomorrow we have a chance to be on top of the American League Central. That's always a special moment because it's never easy to get to the playoffs. For me, I'm going to treat it like Game 7 of the World Series, get ready for the playoffs. That's the type of mentality it's going to be in the playoffs. Might as well do it in my last start of the season."
Meanwhile, Twins right-hander Kevin Correia will also make his final start of the season. He's been one of Minnesota's most consistent pitchers, posting a 4.29 ERA in 30 starts, though he's just looking to finish on a strong note.
"Another win isn't really going to change our season that much," Correia said. "I'm just going to go out there and throw a good game. Wins and losses are kind of out of our hand but at this point in my career, I'm trying to win games. I'd rather give up a few runs and get the win than throw a good game and not get the win."
The Twins are looking to play spoiler, as Detroit can become the first team to win three straight division crowns since Minnesota from 2002-2004.
"If our starter gives us a chance, we have to hang in there, because we're facing good pitchers," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It all gets down to if your guy gives you a chance because these guys are good. They're pitching well and have a great offense. So we just want to hang in there and then have fun at the end of the game."
Tigers: Coke headed for MRI
• Reliever Phil Coke will have an MRI on Wednesday in Detroit on his left elbow, which tightened up on him overnight after throwing a bullpen session on Monday at Target Field.
"[Tuesday] it was tight and sore," Coke said. "And before I threw [Monday], I didn't feel anything."
While the best-case scenario may be treatment and rest rather than surgery, it seemingly leaves little to no time for him to get ready for the postseason.
"I'm incredibly disappointed right now just because the way it's been going," Coke said. "I feel like I'm letting everybody down. I don't deal well with being in this current position."
• Jose Iglesias took more grounders at shortstop before Tuesday's game, but manager Jim Leyland said Iglesias is still struggling to grip a bat with his bruised left hand.
Twins: Pelfrey wants to return in 2014
• Mike Pelfrey made his last start of the season on Monday night, holding the Tigers to one run over six innings, and the upcoming free agent hopes to return to Minnesota next year.
"I want to come back," Pelfrey said. "Ultimately, it's in their hands what direction they want to go. But I told them I'd love to come back."
Pelfrey, who had a $4 million base salary and received a $100,000 bonus for pitching more than 150 innings, posted a 5.19 ERA in 29 starts over 152 2/3 innings.
"I'm not going to sugarcoat it and say I had a good year," Pelfrey said. "It didn't work out the way I wanted for me or the team."
• Oswaldo Arcia missed his second straight game on Tuesday night because of a bruised right knee, which he sustained when he ran into the outfield wall during batting practice on Monday.
"He jumped up at the wall while shagging some balls out there," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So he has a bruise or a contusion. But he's not moving well. Hopefully, he'll get better. They told me to give him a day or two."
• Miguel Cabrera is batting .440 with one home run and eight RBIs against Correia in 25 career at-bats.
• Ryan Doumit needs just one home run to reach 100 for his career.
Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.