12th Man Report: The AL Central…it’s a race
Well, September hasn’t treated them too well so far. The Tigers have lost six of eight games and have just a 4.5 game lead over Cleveland. And what was thought to be a two-team race in the AL Central has now turned into a three-headed monster — the Kansas City Royals are seven games back and coming in hot.
One common trending problem during this tough start to September has been the lack of offense in times of need. Sure the Tigers blew out Kansas City last Friday 16-2, but they also lost 4-3 and 5-2 in the next two days, respectively. And this isn’t even touching on the amount of base runners they’ve been leaving stranded.
Some people are starting to get worried; it is concerning. After last night’s loss to the Chicago White Sox, it has officially become a close race. All three teams in the chase have similar schedules in terms of difficulty for the last 20 games, so although it’s the Tigers’ division to lose, it’s anybody’s division to take.
If you’re one of the people who honestly believe that the Tigers might get caught, the odds aren’t in your favor. Not only would Cleveland have to finish the last twenty games with a 14-5 or better record, but the Tigers would need to finish below .500 in their remaining games.
Sure the Tigers’ play has trended the wrong way these last few weeks, but they still have the key ingredients to a playoff team — veteran leadership, a good pitching rotation, and a strong offense, even if some of those players haven’t been showing up lately. And no matter how large the Tigers’ lead has been this season, manager Jim Leyland has continually said that it would be a close race.
Predictions aside, the Tigers are in a position to take control of their own fate. As long as the pitching returns to its capable form and the bats liven up a bit, it seems very likely that we’ll be watching baseball well into October in Detroit…knock on wood.