DETROIT -- The American League Central race could have been a three-team race between the White Sox, Tigers and Indians. After all, the Tribe finished in second place in the division last year -- though the Tigers did run away with it by 15 games -- and were right in the thick of things this year until going 5-24 in August.
But as manager Manny Acta will readily admit, the team just didn't get the pitching it needed. The club's collective 4.82 ERA entering Tuesday night's game in Detroit is the worst in the AL. Therefore, Acta was answering questions about what he thought about the Sox and Tigers battling it out.
"I think it's going to go down to the wire. Both teams have what it takes to win it," Acta said. "The White Sox are very balanced throughout the lineup and the starting rotation and bullpen.
"The Tigers, I mean, the championships go through here, the division goes through here. They won it last year, and they have the team to do it again. They have the equalizer [in Justin Verlander], which is the guy who can go every five days and pretty much guarantee a win. It's going to be interesting. It's going to be a good race."
However the race turns out, the Indians are going to have a serious say. Eleven of their last 27 games are against the two teams competing for first place in the division.
Five of those games, including Tuesday night's contest, are against the Tigers, with a three-game series at Progressive Field from Sept. 14-16. Despite the Indians' struggles this season, they've constantly been a thorn in the Tigers' side.
After Monday's 3-2 win, they improved their record to 8-5 against Detroit. And while their ERA indicates they haven't pitched too well overall, Acta said his team has somehow done so against the Tigers.
"We have just been able to pitch well whenever we play them. That's the key," Acta said. "They have a very good lineup, and if you don't pitch well, they're going to crush you."
Chisenhall to continue rehab with Akron
DETROIT -- With the season having wrapped up in Triple-A Columbus on Monday with a 4-3 victory over the Toledo Mud Hens, Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall will have his rehab assignment transferred to Double-A Akron.
Chisenhall has been sidelined since June 30 after fracturing a bone in his right forearm when he was hit by a pitch in Baltimore. The 23-year-old had just begun rehabbing with the Clippers on Sunday, playing in two games and going 1-for-7.
The Clippers, back-to-back International League champions in 2010-11, failed to make the playoffs, and therefore Chisenhall will head to Akron to get at-bats with the Double-A team during its postseason run.
Indians manager Manny Acta said that the plan remains for Chisenhall to continue his rehab, get some work in and then join the team at some point in September.
"As soon as he's done with the rehab over there in Akron, he's going to be over here playing," Acta said.
Chisenhall hit .255 with the Indians in 66 games last season after being called up on June 27. He was batting .278 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 24 games this year before being injured and undergoing surgery.
Acta discusses his plan for callups
DETROIT -- Following Monday's 3-2 win over the Tigers, the Indians announced four additional September callups in pitchers Scott Maine and David Huff, and infielders Cord Phelps and Vinny Rottino. Prior to Tuesday's game, manager Manny Acta discussed how he planned to use them.
"Obviously, not every single one is going to get a look equally," Acta said. "Some of the guys are here to be taken a look at, like [Russ] Canzler, and some of the arms we called up like Maine. ... A lot of the other guys are just going to be used as we see fit."
Maine was claimed off waivers by the Tribe after being released by the Cubs. He made 21 appearances for Chicago and excelled at facing left-handed hitters. It's a small sample size, but lefties hit .130 off Maine this season, so Acta wants to give the 27-year-old a good look.
"He's got potential to be a good matchup guy out of the 'pen," Acta said.
Huff and Phelps will also be used, but in much more limited roles.
"Huff, he's going to pitch out of the 'pen, but he's not going to be a normal bullpen guy," Acta said. "He's never done that, so whenever we use him out of the 'pen, he's going to have plenty of time to prepare himself and come out and pitch. He's just here as an extra arm that's going to get a lot of work on the side with the pitching coaches here.
"[Phelps] is going to get some at-bats at second base and DH, but I just can't sit here and tell you he's going to get a look at second base, because the majority of our core group of guys is going to continue to play."
Of the four, Tribe fans will likely see Rottino the least. When asked if the 32-year-old would be primarily a guy off the bench, Acta nodded his head.
Quote to note
"We have some guys that we can build around. Up the middle we feel pretty good, we got a catcher, our two middle infielders and our center fielder, we're set. So we feel that we're not that far."
-- Indians manager Manny Acta
Closer Chris Perez is back with the team after missing the past three games as his wife gave birth to their second child. Manny Acta said Perez was available to pitch the ninth inning if needed.
"He's fine. He's had more days off when we were going through those losing streaks," Acta said.
The Indians finished a nine-game road trip at the end of July and beginning of August going 0-9. Their next nine-game trip from Aug. 13-22, they returned home 1-8. They are 1-0 on their current 10-game, three-city journey, and need one more victory to have more than the previous two trips combined.
Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.