By: Jeff Riger
Ok, so I might have been wrong.
I was sure this year’s version of the Tigers would struggle severely, at least early. C’mon, I was justified in believing that. After an offseason that said goodbye to Prince Fielder, Omar Infante, Jhonny Peralta, Doug Fister, Joaquin Benoit and Jose Veras, it seemed Detroit was destined for doom and that, that World Series window was rapidly closing.
I grew even more skeptical when Detroit only added the likes of Joba Chamberlain and Rajai Davis. The returns in the Fister trade didn’t excite me either as Ian Krol, Robbie Ray came to town. Steve Lombardozzi too, but he is now in Baltimore.
Then came the injuries…
Jose Iglesias went down for the season along with Bruce Rondon and we can’t forget about the disturbing carousel at Shortstop.
All the above information left me believing Detroit would stink.
But I was wrong, at least after a month.
The Tigers have won 5 games in a row after sweeping the Royals in Kansas City. They are in first in the AL central, 4.5 games up on the Twins who are in second place and they have the second best winning percentage in all of baseball at .654. The offense is producing all of it and the starting pitching has been spectacular as many believed they would be. Even the bullpen hasn’t been an issue recently.
The AL Central looks weal too. Detroit just finished dismantling KC, a team that many thought could challenge the Tigers for the division crown. The Tigers finished a 3 divisional city road trip with a 6-1 record. If that’s not dominance, I’m not exactly sure what is?
Hell, even Vegas has Detroit their odds on favorites to win it all this season.
After 26 games, I’m willing to admit that I was wrong.
Of course things can change, teams get hot, the Tigers will play better competition and no doubt that pen will rear its ugly head again.
But for now, this Tigers team has really impressed me and they seem like they’re clicking on all cylinders.
Just to help illustrate how dominant the Tigers were this weekend, let the numbers below tell the story.
Rick Porcello, Drew Smyly and Justin Verlander threw a combined 21 innings while giving up just 10 hits and 5 runs. Verlander even took a no hitter into the 6th inning yesterday. All three starters were able to give the Tigers 7 innings. When you get pitching like that, you just won’t lose.
The pen was not all that much depended on over the weekend, but when it was called upon it did the job allowing a combined 3 runs off 6 hits in 6 innings of work.
Phil Coke was responsible for half the hits and 2 of the runs.
The Tigers outscored the Royals 26-8. They out hit them 44-16. And, every batter that played for Detroit this weekend got at least one hit. The Tigers also had 18 extra base hits, 14 doubles and 4 homers. Perhaps the most impressive part of the offense this weekend was the fact that they scored 11 of those 44 runs in the 7th, 8th or 9th inning.
Everything seems to be working for this team…at least for now.
Baseball is a strange game that can see things chance quickly, but considering Detroit’s next 7 games are at home and against the Astros and Twins, I think it’s safe to say the winning will continue.
Early on, I was wrong about this team. What about you?