Let’s take a behind-the-numbers look at the 2011 season’s dramatic penultimate contest.
1968. 1984. 2006. Those years marked very special seasons for the Detroit Tigers. Now, you can include 2011 with that list of outstanding Tiger teams.
Get ready to pop the cork on your Dom Perignon. Better make it a Miller Lite. This is baseball, after all. And besides, who can afford a $500 bottle of champagne? The Tigers are about to celebrate their first division title since 1987.
He did it. Justin Verlander has now won 20 games, the first Tiger pitcher to achieve that feat since Bill Gullickson did it in 1991. And tell the truth, would you have known the answer to that trivia question?
I know. The big news of the weekend was the Tigers thrilling sweep over the Cleveland Indians. But lost in that excitement is the call up of Third Baseman Brandon Inge. After being exiled to Toledo for the past month, Inge made his triumphant return to the Tigers lineup Saturday night, when he promptly responded with a homerun in his first at bat back in Detroit.
t’s still early. But so far, the results of the Tigers trade with the Seattle Mariners are mixed, at best. The Baltimore Orioles hit Doug Fister early and often on Sunday, as he allowed eight runs in his second straight loss since joining the Tigers. Meantime, rookie Charlie Furbush, who the Tigers traded away for Fister in a six player deal, allowed just one run to the hard-hitting Boston Red Sox, to pick up his third win.
These are the “Dog Days” of summer for Major League Baseball , when teams that were riding high in the spring are fading under the hot July and August skies. And as we move into the second week of August, the Tigers are riding high in first place in the American League Central, with a four game lead over second place Cleveland .
Whenever you hear about a matchup of two of the best pitchers in baseball, the game rarely lives up to the hype. Sunday’s game at Comerica Park pitting Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander against the Angels’ Jered Weaver was the exception. Both pitchers were sensational. But Verlander was better.
At least it wasn’t a sweep. The Tigers managed to salvage one game of their their three game series with the White Sox, thanks to some clutch hitting by Victor Martinez and excellent work by the bullpen. Some thought the Tigers paid too much for Martinez, signed by the team as a free agent in the offseason. But he has turned out to be worth the investment, unlike some other high priced players signed by other teams, like Adam Dunn, who has been a dud for the White Sox and has become the subject of nearly constant booing by fans in Chicago.
Two halves are supposed to make a whole, right? Unfortunately, the Tigers first and second halves haven’t added up to a strong finish over the past five seasons. Even in 2006, when the Tigers made it to the World Series, they faded fast in the second half of the season and only managed to make it to the post-season because they won the Wild Card spot.