The Detroit Tigers Will Make the Postseason

Updated: September 11, 2012

While the pundits and greater baseball world have their focus on the A’s and Angels this week, there is a series with slightly less magic yet objectively more importance. In what is shaping up as one of the more interesting rivalries in baseball, the Chicago White Sox host the Detroit Tigers.  The White Sox won game one last night 6-1, but for most of it, things were much closer and I couldn’t help but think that the Tigers were the better team.  They made three errors and Miguel Cabrera grounded into a killer double play early on.  To an outsider like me, how they lost last night sums up the disappointments of the season to this point.  However, they are very simply the most talented team in the AL Central and will prove it over the next three days.

Last night’s loss puts the Tigers three games out with 22 to play, but all is certainly not lost; especially when one looks at the remaining schedule.  The Tigers will play, after these next three with Chicago, 16 of their next 19 against the Indians, Twins, and Royals.  It’s go time in Detroit.

We’ll get to the mathematics in a minute, but for now we’ll take an objective look at the roster differences between the Tigers and White Sox.  Consider that White Sox masher Adam Dunn is likely to sit out this entire series because of an oblique strain.  History might indicate he’s more hurt than he cares to admit.  Francisco Liriano is still making starts for the White Sox and we’ve written how volatile that can be. And Kevin Youkilis is sporting a moustache that makes White Sox games nearly unwatchable (see below).  Speaking of unwatchable, Hawk Harrelson is the single worst announcer in baseball.  You can put that on the board.

Meanwhile, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Austin Jackson are putting together very good seasons and have each hit above .300 thus far.  Rick Porcello pitched much better than his line indicated last night and Justin Verlander has about four more starts.

With the superstar advantage squarely on the Tigers’ side, we know that baseball games are decided by more than a superstar or two.  To me, the  difference in the lineups comes down to Delmon Young vs Dayan Viciedo, or Alex Avila vs Gordan Beckham.  With Avila and Beckham, much more is expected from them and they’ve each been a slight disappointment to this point; Young and Viciedo are both at that “I’m not quite a star in this league, but I’m good enough to disappoint you when I’m not quite good enough” stage.

The way the rotations stack up is interesting.  It comes down to who you believe in.  If it’s not clear who I believe in to this point, let’s just say a rotation with both Francisco Liriano and Jose Quintana should not and will not be playoff bound.

The eye test goes to the Tigers, but the eye test has been against the Orioles all year and they continue to hang in the race.  I’m more concerned with the matchups and how exactly the Tigers will overcome this three game hole.  I’ve already mentioned that after this next set with Chicago, 16 of the Tigers’ next 19 are against the Indians, Twins, and Royals.  Meanwhile, 12 of the White Sox’s next 18 are against that same pack of subpar teams.  That’s the magic of the unbalanced schedule.  I looked up the intradivision records of these two and the Tigers have a distinct edge (.566 winning percentage to .509).  For the record, should a tie occur between these two, a one-game playoff would take plae and that’d be awesome.  With 22 games to play and a three game difference, not too much farfetched-ness has to happen for the Tigers to break through.  It should be a good game and I know that at Off The Bench headquarters tonight, we’ll have our eyes on both the White Sox/Tigers and the Angels/A’s, and maybe Tampa/Baltimore or Pittsburgh/Cincinnati.  Just watch some baseball tonight and enjoy.
-Sean MorashStat of the Day:  Despite how confident I am in the Tigers’ chances, you can’t predict baseball.


  1. mickeylolichreturns

    September 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks for your vote of confidence and optimism Re: Tigers. But unfortunately when it gets this close the skippers should be scrutinized as well. They have to have some nuances of “thinking on their feet” throughout each game. And Leyland fails this test. Plus lowly Cleveland, KC have dominated the Tigers this year, and the A’s speak for themselves. But, of course, my HOPE is that you are correct.

    • canttouchme

      September 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm

      Mickey–I think this is very optomistic. The Tigs have failed against these
      bottom feeders. Finally we have the worst skipper at the helm since
      the Titanic…why we have a bumpy ride ahead. I think the Tigers will
      finish 10 over at best…and I do not expect them to do better than a split with the Sox. After last night the Sox are thinking broom and they have the chemistry to do it.
      Leyland could not win a one horse race.

      • mickeylolichreturns

        September 11, 2012 at 6:52 pm

        I know cant, but i didn’t want to discourage this young writer in his pick too much.

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