The Truth About Interleague Play And The Tigers
It obviously helped their record to go 13-5 against the inferior National League, but only minimally when it came to gaining ground in the American League Central standings. The White Sox went 12-6 in interleague games. Even the Royals 13-5. The Tigers actually lost a game to the Twins, who were 14-4 against the N.L.
In terms of the standings, the Tigers made a monumental move, gaining five games in just six days to suddenly move into contention. Since then, despite winning regularly and getting over .500, they have been pretty much been spinning their wheels trying to pick up ground in the standings.
That’s the beauty of the next month. There will be a lot more head-to-head competition for the Tigers against their A.L. Central rivals. Eighteen of their next 29 games, starting tonight in Minnesota, will be against the A.L. Central - including their next nine home games.
The competition outside the division isn’t that fierce - eight games, each a four-game series, at Seattle and Baltimore. But those games are on the road and, frankly, the White Sox don’t have a particularly challenging schedule outside the division, either. The Twins, however, do. They must make road trips to Boston and New York in July.
I don’t know how the Twins are doing it, to be honest. The Tigers and White Sox are comparable in terms of their talent, especially when injuries are placed into the equation. The Tigers can’t afford not to have Magglio Ordonez for an extended period of time. We’ll know more about the Twins and Tigers after this series.
- The American League has beaten the National League in interleague play every season since 2003. This year, the A.L. won the games by a 149-102 margin. It was 137-115 in 2007 and 154-98 in 2006. That’s 440-315 over a three-year span - a winning percentage of 58 percent. If that isn’t discernable evidence the A.L. is the better league, I don’t what would be.
- It would help the Tigers a great deal, with Ordonez out, if Gary Sheffield continues the clutch hitting he began last week. Also, it’s imperative Miguel Cabrera gets untracked. The loss of Ordonez can’t be minimized. Until Cabrera proves otherwise - and he sure hasn’t to this point - Ordonez is the Tigers best hitter.