Monday, August 29, 2011
Detroit Tigers Fans Should Relax This September
Put the knife down! Get off that window ledge! Do NOT swallow that mouthful of pills, dammit!
No, this year is different. I know that September and the Tigers fighting to win the division usually go together like fluffy bunnies and hungry wolves, but this time is going to be different. Your Party Host promises you. Why am I so sure? Well, because this is a completely different situation that what we’re used to seeing in Septembers in Detroit.
Let me explain.
There is no Terminator coming for us this time.
In 2009, the Twins went on their monumental run at the end of the year, something that felt like 30-1 down the stretch, to catch and pass the Tigers at the end. Well, take a look around. The Twins are 17 games back and a mess. The Indians are 6.5 games back and are counting on 75 year old Jim Thome to somehow make the rest of the team not suck. Good luck. And the White Sox? Sorry, Chicago, but Paul Konerko and Mark Buehrle cannot make up that kind of ground by themselves.
There is no Terminator waiting for us behind every corner this time. Jason is dead. Freddy’s nightmare is over. No matter how you want to say it, there’s no threat in the division left this year playing dead, only to jump up and kill the Tigers at the end. Enjoy the happy ending.
The schedule is kind to us.
Have you seen the remaining schedule the Tigers face? 29 games remain. Six with the Royals. Six with the White Sox. Six with the Indians. Three with Minnesota. Four each with Oakland and Baltimore. 17 of the 29 games are at home. And of all of them, only Chicago is currently over .500 (66-65). How have the Tigers done against these teams this year?
Kansas City: 8-4
That’s a grand total of 38-25 for the mathematically challenged. I cannot see any possible way this team tanks down the stretch against this schedule. Especially when you consider…
These aren’t your Tiger hitters of recent past.
Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Alex Avila, Jhonny Peralta, and whatever combination of Brennan Boesch/2nd Half Ryan Raburn are going to hit, no matter what. The 2009 team didn’t have this grouping, other than Mig and Ryno. This team is the most loaded Tigers team on offense since the eighties. And I didn’t even mention Magglio Ordonez, Austin Jackson, Carlos Guillen, Wilson Betemit, or Delmon Young. Those guys all have shown in the past that they can get hot, too. Speaking of DY…
Delmon Young and Doug Fister are NOT Aubrey Huff and Jarrod Washburn.
Delmon Young may turn out to be the biggest steal in Tiger trades history, well, along with Polanco for Urbina. DY has played 13 games as a Tiger and looks like the Delmon of last year, hitting .304 with 2 homers and 10 RBI already. The Dougie is 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA in his 5 Tiger starts so far. These guys are young and in their primes, unlike Huff and Washburn were. These two have the potential to be impactful Tigers for years to come.
Simonson said they’d tank.
All year, we’ve had to listen to Bill Simonson say how the Tigers would fall apart. And as I pointed out last week, The Troll King is never right about anything. If he tells you the sun will rise tomorrow, you’d better go out and buy as many candles as you can afford. (Speaking of which, today he picked the Lions to finish 10-6, and Michigan and MSU each at 10-2…y’all are screwed.) And he’s not alone.
The sports radio hacks here in Toledo have done the same all year. Release Raburn! Release Inge! Leyland is crazy! Bring Inge back! Delmon Young is a bad pickup! Jimenez over Fister! Blah, blah, blah. STFU.
Sports radio hosts do not care about being right. They only want to anger you into listening more. Colin Cowherd, horrible as he is, at least admits that fact. The Troll King and his court are paid to be doom and gloom and create controversy. Sorry, jerks. Not this year…there will be no obnoxious “told ya so’s”.
Justin Verlander is God.
Remember those teams we’re facing the rest of the way? Do you think Justin Verlander and his 5-6 remaining starts is the slightest bit afraid of any of those lineups? Yeah…me neither.
So THIS is what a bullpen looks like.
Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit, and Phil Coke are all looking amazing right now. They’re peaking at the right time. And Ryan Perry and Daniel Schlereth are even looking good right now. Assuming that this year’s Zoom, Al Alburquerque, doesn’t forget how to play baseball after taking a ball to the noggin (think Justin Morneau), we have one of the better bullpens in baseball. Have we EVER been able to say that?
And there’s more. We have depth on the bench. We’re reasonably healthy. Leyland and company are (hopefully) wiser this time around. Inge isn’t starting with two withered legs. And so on.
So embrace this, my friends. Unless something this side of JV and Mig being struck by lightning and turned to dust, we are winning the AL Central for the first time ever. And we’re going to the playoffs.
Enjoy the ride. And don’t look back.