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Tigers have a shot to give owner what he wants

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Tigers have a shot to give owner what he wants

DETROIT (AP) Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch is spending a lot of his money to chase a World Series title.

Thanks to Detroit's surge and the Chicago White Sox's slump, the Tigers have a shot to give Ilitch a return on his investment.

``He's been trying to bring a winner here and to know the joy it would bring him to win a championship is another driving force,'' Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a telephone interview Thursday. ``In fact, I can't think of a better one.''

When Victor Martinez had a season-ending knee injury last winter, Ilitch gave Dombrowski the OK to replace him with Prince Fielder even though that meant adding a $214 million contract to the books. That ballooned the team's payroll to $139.6 million to rank fifth among baseball's big spenders.

``He's given us everything it takes to win,'' Dombrowski said.

The AL Central champions won eight of their last 10 games while Chicago collapsed, lifting Detroit to the postseason in consecutive years for the first time since 1934-35. The Tigers won the division by three games after trailing the White Sox by three games just two weeks ago.

``We're peaking at the right time as a ballclub,'' right-hander Max Scherzer said. ``We've had our ups and downs this year, but we believe in our talent. It's all culminating right now at the right time.

``We believe we're just as good as any team in the American League right now.''

First, Detroit will have to be better than the AL West-champion Oakland Athletics.

The A's are on a roll of their own, rallying from being 13 games back on June 30 and overcoming a five-game deficit over the last nine days of the regular season to top Texas with a sweep.

``It's a great story and I just tip my hat to Bob Melvin and the Oakland A's,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Wednesday night after ending the season with a win at Kansas City. ``It's going to be two good teams trying to advance to the big prize.''

The Tigers will host the first of two games Saturday night before the best-of-five series shifts to Oakland.

Detroit might be tough to beat in Game 1 with Triple Crown slugger Miguel Cabrera at the plate and reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander on the mound.

Cabrera hit .330 with 44 homers and 139 RBIs, leading the American League in all three statistical categories. He' s the first to achieve the feat since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

``I got a lot of messages from Venezuela, everyone, my friends,'' Cabrera said. ``They're all happy at home.''

Everyone also seems pleased with Cabrera's choices off the field these days.

On his way to spring training in Lakeland, Fla., last year, Cabrera was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving when he refused to cooperate, directed an obscene gesture at police and even dared them to shoot him, according to authorities in St. Lucie County, Fla.

Two years ago, Cabrera got drunk enough between a Friday night game and the morning to have what police said was 0.26 blood-alcohol reading and a bruised and cut left cheek. Authorities said he got in a fight with his wife, who called 911. He was taken to a police station, where Dombrowski picked him up.

As part of Cabrera's program to stay sober and out of trouble, former major leaguer Raul Gonzalez has been at his side all season.

``Miguel has worked hard and with a supporting cast, his maturity level has continued to grow and you have to tip your cap to him,'' Dombrowski said. ``He needs to continue to work on it for the rest of his life.''

Dombrowski also raved about the ``tremendous job'' Leyland did in the dugout this season in the last year of his contract, but wasn't ready to talk about whether he'll be back with the franchise next year.

``We'll discuss that after the season,'' Dombrowski said.

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Follow Larry Lage on Twitter:http://twitter.com/larrylage

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AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report.

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What It Means: Wizards reportedly expected to make extension offer to Bradley Beal

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USA Today

What It Means: Wizards reportedly expected to make extension offer to Bradley Beal

Despite the litany of teams who would love to get their hands on Bradley Beal this offseason, Washington has so far remained committed to keeping Bradley Beal a Wizard.

And when he's eligible in July, they plan to offer him a three-year, $111 million extension, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.  

"He's eligible for a three-year, $111 million extension," Wojnarowski said during ESPN's televised mock draft special. "I'm told it's the team's intention to offer that up to him and try and move forward."

Keeping Beal long-term may wind being a smart move, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig wrote this week. The extension would lock Beal up for the next five years and secure him and John Wall -- once he's fully recovered from offseason Achilles surgery -- as the Wizards' backcourt for the foreseeable future. 

The offer may seem financially burdensome, considering the Wizards just signed John Wall to a massive supermax extension that starts this season. But although the Wizards are currently strapped for cash, there's hope on the horizon. Ian Mahinmi's $15.6 million deal and Dwight Howard's $5.4 million deal expire after the 2019-2020 season.

The Wizards could decline Jabari Parkers $20 million team option and let Bobby Portis walk in restricted free agency this offseason. If both those happen, the Wizards could open up cap space for Beal's extension.

Considering John Wall is out for likely the entire next season and the Wizards still don't have a GM, their best move might be to lock in what proven production they have.

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Phillies are 2-for-2.

Tuesday night's game was postponed following a two-hour rain delay. Monday's game was postponed after a three-hour rain delay.

Tuesday's game will be made up as part of a split day-night doubleheader Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., bumping a four-game series to a five-game series. The Nationals and Phillies are scheduled to also play a split day-night doubleheader Wednesday.

The day was not without news. Nationals ace Max Scherzer broke his nose in batting practice when a ball bounced off his bat and struck him in the face. Scherzer was attempting to bunt at the time.

Scherzer's injury and the multiple postponements throw the Nationals' pitching plans into disarray. They're not sure if Scherzer will pitch as expected Wednesday. It appears Austin Voth, who was scratched from his Thursday start for Triple-A Fresno, will be available to pitch in one of the Wednesday games -- should they be played. More rain is expected Wednesday.

The Nationals will bump Patrick Corbin, who was slated to pitch again Tuesday, into a Wednesday spot. Wednesday's other starter is TBA. It could be Scherzer if he is ready. It could be Erick Fedde, and Voth could be used in the bullpen as the 26th man. That would provide Scherzer a chance to pitch Thursday and Strasburg on Friday against Atlanta. 

Or, Scherzer could be provided more time off. There's a lot to sort out once again thanks to the rain.

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