Detroit Tigers are on a Roll; Taking Command of AL Central

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With the recent incident in Indiana prior to a scheduled Sugarland concert and the Iowa Straw Poll results, news on the Detroit Tigers (or even the AL Central) is not of the utmost importance. With that said, their recent record and level of play have been impressive and cause for excitement from their fan base.

Behind the thirty-five saves of Jose Valverde, the squad has come out victorious in many close games during the month of August. In fact, Detroit has seven wins by a one run margin. This bodes well for their postseason chances when things tighten up and the differential in talent among clubs is more minimal than on a daily basis.

These close contests also prove that there has been timely hitting provided by the batting order. It is much more crucial for any player to attain base hits when others are on base. The big bats that the Tigers have throughout their order can bail out the team from earlier miscues or missed opportunities. It is much more difficult for powerless teams to string together three or four hits consecutively than for the Tigers to provide a bloop and a blast.

The recent starts of Max Scherzer and Brad Penny demonstrate promise. During a one hundred sixty-two game season there will obviously be ebbs and flows in production levels, but their recent performances are hopefully harbingers for things to come. The former’s ten strikeouts in a single game could be a symptom of witnessing the dominance of Justin Verlander on a weekly basis. I have been critical of Brad Penny on more than one occasion, but fairness must take precedence and credit must be given when it is earned.

The Twins and Indians are on the horizon for the Tigers in the coming weeks. This is good news for their chances at success. Detroit has obviously performed in a superior manner compared with Cleveland and Minnesota. Past success should provide the momentum for future wins against the teams that seem to be headed in the opposite direction.

The contract extensions of General Manager Dave Dumbrowski and Manager Jim Leyland provide stability for the first place club. It gives players solace that they will be secure and know their roles into the future. Dumbrowski’s covers four years, which is an eternity in professional sports. Leyland’s is only for one more year-probably by choice.

The veteran team can possibly rest in September with the expanded rosters if it has a comfortable lead. This not only solidifies their chances of remaining healthy, but can also provide a chance for inexperienced players to fight for playing time in the postseason. This competition could be a motivating factor for big numbers on the stat sheet.

I have previously been skeptical of the change at pitching coach. The replacement, Jeff Jones, can now rest a little easier because he is in the driver’s seat in the division. This allows him to focus on teaching instead of second guessing every personnel decision that is made through the course of a game.

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