How long has it been since the Tigers had a share of First Place in the American League Central Division? A long time. July of last season, to be exact. It’s been a long, steady climb, with the Tigers winning 10 out of their last 14, while the Indians have been fading fast, dropping ten out of their last 14.
Don’t look now, but the Tigers are only two and a half games behind first place Cleveland, as the Indians have been fading after their torrid start. With the Twins apparently dead and buried, and the White Sox looking very vulnerable, the Tigers have a decent chance of winning the Central Division Race.
2011 has been the year of The Streak for the Tigers. No, I don’t mean they’ve been recreating the streaking craze of the 70’s when people for some reason decided (often with the help of alcohol) that it would be a good idea to run through streets and sports stadiums without the benefit of clothing. I’m talking about winning and losing streaks. The Tigers have already lost seven in a row this season, then turned around and won seven in a row, followed by another five straight losses.
If you are of a certain age, you might remember the line from the old TV show: Will The Real Detroit Tigers please stand up?
There’s something very special about what happened in Toronto on Saturday. Justin Verlander threw a no-hitter, the second of his career and just the seventh ever by a Tiger pitcher. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it, considering that the Tigers have been around for 110 years and have played at least 154 games in each of those seasons. That’s about 17 thousand games if my math is correct.
After 16 games, Tiger pitchers are putting up some pretty impressive numbers. Unfortunately, the same thing can not be said for the hitters. And that’s why the Tigers have a so-so record of seven and nine.
It’s a long season. It’s only nine games. There are still 153 to go. All those things are true, and good to keep in mind. But that doesn’t keep me from being disappointed by the Tigers start this season.
With apologies to the late Ernie Harwell:
For lo the winter is past… And the sounds of baseball have once again returned to our land. Just in time.
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