There are reasons to be skeptical about the Tigers - this is why
This is why:
- The Tigers have not only lost six of their last eight multiple-game series (there was also a makeup win over Toronto), but they were all three-game series in which the Tigers lost the first two games and had to win the third game to salvage anything. They are 12-12 in their last 24 games. Not exactly the stuff of the '98 Yankees.
- The Tigers have a 49-45 record. They had a better record after the same number of games in 2010 (50-44), 2009 (50-44) and 2007 57-37 - and didn't reach the postseason. Even in 2008, when the Tigers' season was widely labeled a disaster because they shot for the moon with a huge player payroll and struggled from the start of the season, they weren't that much worse, in regard to record, than they are at this point of the season (47-47).
- The White Sox have floundered. You saw what they lack in not being able to put the Tigers away Sunday. The Twins have been decimated by injures and their bullpen is suspect.
But the White Sox aren't that bad, and the Twins have gotten Delmon Young and Jim Thome back - and Joe Nathan, who had been written off, got the save Sunday. The Twins are winning games and are only five games back. And that's before factoring the Indians into the equation.
Look, I think the Tigers have the best team in the A.L. Central. My best educated guess is they will win the division.
Just having Justin Verlander leading their rotation and Miguel Cabrera in the middle of their batting order puts them ahead of other clubs.
But they are not going to win it losing two out of three games at a time.
As for the skepticism, it's justified. "Every year is different..."
Yeah, I heard that in 2010....
And in 2009...
I might have even said or written it myself.
Not this time.