CLEVELAND — Detroit manager Jim Leyland has already conceded the Central Division title to Cleveland, but the Indians aren’t writing any acceptance speeches just yet.
Though they own a comfortable 7½-game lead on the Tigers in the division standings, with their magic number to clinch at just two, the Indians are holding off before turning their attention to a potential playoff appearance — their first since 2001.
“We’re still focused on just today,” said Indians manager Eric Wedge, who has preached as much since the opening of the regular season. “When we get to the point where we finish things off, then we’ll prepare for (the playoffs).
“Nothing has (been won). We’ve put ourselves in a good position.”
It’s a position that dictates that even if the Tigers win their final eight games, the Indians would have to finish 1-8 for Detroit to catch them.
With that in mind, it’s tough not to believe Cleveland has wrapped up the division, even for Indians players.
“I think it’s human tendency to do that, but you don’t want to sit back and relax,” said closer Joe Borowski.
A different approach, with the Indians so close to realizing their goal, is not what Wedge wants to see from his players, who have won 21 of their last 26 games.
“These guys just need to keep doing what they’ve been doing,” he said. “They’ve been doing it right for a long time now.”
Left-hander Jeremy Sowers pitched a simulated game at Jacobs Field on Friday in preparation for his start in a doubleheader Wednesday in Seattle.
“He looked good, threw the ball well and felt good,” Wedge said of Sowers, who threw about 70 pitches.
Wedge said the team had not decided which game of the doubleheader Sowers would pitch. His last outing came last Friday in a start for Double-A Akron in the Eastern League finals.
Wedge said David Dellucci has been available to pinch hit, but the outfielder has yet to make an appearance since being activated from the disabled list Sept. 6.
Dellucci, who was out for three months after surgery on his left hamstring, is a long shot to make the potential playoff roster, having logged his last at-bat on June 19.
The Indians have won 13 of their last 15 games at Jacobs Field. Their home record (50-28) ranked second in the majors to the Yankees’ 50-27 mark.
• Cleveland has won 90 games for the 17th time in club history and the second time in three seasons. The Indians ranked fifth in the big leagues with a 261-215 record from 2005-07 through Thursday.
• Cleveland’s bullpen entered Friday not having allowed a run in six straight games — 151/3 innings.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.