In three out of four games against the Chicago White Sox, the Detroit Tigers scored 19 runs. During the final two against the suddenly failing Philadelphia Phillies, the team scored 22 runs en-route to a sweep.
Last week, I wondered aloud if the Tigers might have problems scoring during the second half. Question answered. The White Sox and Phillies, two of the worst teams in baseball, were humbled and overpowered by Detroit’s resurgant offense. A week after fading a bit against the Kansas City Royals, the Tigers got down to buisness.
Who led the way? It was hard to say, being Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta, Don Kelly and Matt Tuiasosopo all came up with big hits, and Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez stepping up on the mound. It was a complete team effort top to bottom.
The biggest story other than the offense, though, was Detroit taking care of business against a few teams that they should. With the Cleveland Indians refusing to slow down themselves, it was critical for the Tigers to keep winning against two teams who were under .500. As the season continues, Detroit will continue to cross paths with teams that should be beaten, and it will be important for them to keep focused.
In August, five series will come against teams who are currently .500 or worse. In addition to more encounters with the hapless White Sox, Detroit will see Minnesota, Kansas City and the New York Mets. September is even better. Following a tough opening week against Cleveland and Boston, Detroit won’t see another team which currently maintains a winning record. Their final seven series of the year are against teams which have struggled badly.
Knowing this, and considering Cleveland’s similarly easy finish, getting the job done in the division might likely come down to who performs best against the worst teams in baseball in addition to head to head competition. This weekend, the Tigers got off to a good start with winning the games that they need to. That’s an important bit of confidence for the team to gain moving forward in late July.
In 2011, a hot finish by Detroit in September helped bury the Central Division competition. Last season, a solid 9-4 conclusion to the season against the Royals and Twins proved clutch in pulling out the division. Like the last two seasons, Detroit will need more quality play against the teams they should beat in order to secure a postseason birth.
A week after some trouble in Kansas City, it was nice to see some early confidence forged with the bats and the arms, especially against some weaker competition.
Unfortunately, everyone must mourn the loss of two great Tigers’ fans, James “Eat Em’ Up Tigers” Van Horn and Dreadlock Mike this weekend, after both were killed in a hit-and-run accident. Fans poured to our Facebook page after learning the news on Saturday, paying tribute to the two jovial panhandlers who had become as big a part of attending games at Comerica Park as singing “Go Get Em’ Tigers.” One post, in particular, caught our attention for memory’s sake.
Michael Helmer: Last time I was there he made the announcement he was running for the Mayor of Detroit on the basis of “Eat Em’ Up Tigers!”
He could have won any of those elections, Michael, including the upcoming one. In fact, Van Horn’s basis for running could have gotten the city further than Kwame Kilpatrick’s or arguably, even Dave Bing’s.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax