CabreraFielderThere’s no doubt that the Tigers are in “must win” mode from here on out, and the team certainly played like that was the case on Tuesday night. Detroit pummeled Oakland by a 12-2 margin despite losing starting pitcher Max Scherzer after only two innings due to what was dubbed shoulder fatigue. Scherzer was immediately sent for an MRI which showed no damage, but the team will play it safe and shut him down for a few days before re-evaluating his condition.

It goes without saying that the Tigers can’t count on making the playoffs – or making any sort of run in the playoffs – without a healthy Max Scherzer who’s been lights out for a stretch. It doesn’t appear as though he’ll be making his next scheduled start, but I don’t think that’s been officially ruled out at this point either. His rest-of-season playing time may depend on how competitive the team stays in the division race.

The bullpen filled in admirably in his absence. Darin Downs, Brayan Villarreal, Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit, and Luis Marte combined for seven innings of one-run ball, scattering six hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts.

Offensively there was plenty to cheer about as well. Jhonny Peralta, Prince Fielder, and Miguel Cabrera (twice, once as a grand slam) each homered, and the club scored at least one run in six of their eight offensive innings. Cabrera’s big day (2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI) lifted him to career highs in home runs (40) and RBI (129), and puts him in legitimate striking distance of the Triple Crown. I still would say that Mike Trout is the AL MVP, but Cabrera has had a year for the ages.

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Matt  Snyder writes about Baseball, Football, and College Basketball. He can be found online as the creator and editor of Forever Faithful, the editor of The Tigers Den, a contributor to Call To The Pen, and a contributor to SideLion Report. He can be reached on Twitter @snyder_matthew.