Detroit Tigers: what a difference a week makes


I think Leyland has a point this time, Mr. Joyce

Outfielder Brennan Boesch has been a ray of light for the Detroit Tigers. His consistency and high batting average have been constants for the Tigers throughout this season. The starting pitching struggled mightily during the first week, but that has also rebounded during the second. Miguel Cabrera’s numbers will be there at the end of the year and with no club ion a scorching pace thus far in the American League Central Division, all of this adds up favorably for Mo Town.

Jim Leyland and Gene Lamont are not coaches who are going to panic after the disappointment that they experienced last year. They understand that aberrations occasionally occur and that they have a formula for success that has been proven to be tried and true throughout decades of experience. They also have a resilient fan base that will undoubtedly come alive when the Red Wings conclude their playoff run and school lets out for the summer.

Another harbinger of increased attendance is more future visitors to the MGM Grand. The shutdown of and others like it will make people leave their living rooms to experience their gambling fix. The team has even won without all cylinders at full tilt. The coming emergence of Austin Jackson will make the batting order exponentially more potent.

Even with all of those bright spots, there are still definitely some areas of concern. There doesn’t seem to be a doormat within the division this season. Teams in the Central used to be able to look forward to games against Cleveland and Kansas City for wins. The increased talent and production on these clubs means that everyone else in the league needs to consistently step up their games if they want to win the crown and take a shot at the pennant. The unbalanced schedule made this even more of an advantage in the past. Some disgruntled fans complain that the American League East usually gets two playoff spots because the Red Sox and Yankees have such high payrolls.

The untold part of this story is that they have to play quality teams continuously within their division. The Tampa Bay Rays may be the worst team in that region and they can surprise any club with their grittiness on a given day. Joe Maddon’s relentlessness and sticktoitiveness is something that rubs off on everyone around him.

Another is the health of Carlos Guillen. Even though he is hurt now, the team will need his punch in the line-up. Comerica Park has very spacious confines and he is one the few guys who has the power to leave the yard in all directions. His range has diminished over the years, but power is a valuable commodity because it can be a game changer with one swing of the bat.

The Tigers and White Sox look like the two clubs who have the best shot to progress out of the division to this point. What will separate them from the pack will obviously be the execution on the field. Tiger faithful better hope that Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn don’t get into a groove.

–Patrick Herbert

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