Thursday, June 19, 2008
OK, maybe I was a little quick to pull the trigger a few weeks ago. But the team we've seen the past 12 games is not the one we saw the first three months of the year. At the time when I considered them done, the Tigers had just dropped 12 game below .500 after getting humiliated 10-2 in Oakland. They had just finished a 3-6 road trip losing 3 of those games in the 9th inning or later. The couldn't get the timely hit, field the ball, or throw strikes.
Well, runners are no longer stranded, the infield can field a ground ball, and the starters are going deep into games. More importantly, after two horrendous performances on the mound by Dontrelle Willis and Fernando Rodney, the Tigers came back and won. In both of those wins the Tigers were patient and attacked vulnerable bullpens to get the win.
There has only been one loss in the last nine games. Despite that loss comes after the aforementioned Rodney fiasco, I wasn't worried about another losing streak being started. I can't explain why, but i just did. Part of it may have been knowing that the next 5 games were against the Giants and the Padres. Part of it might have been seeing a team play like they expected to win for once, instead of a team with that "what's going to happen now?" look about them. And wouldn't you know it, be the end of Inter-league play, the Tigers could very well be a game or two away form the .500 mark.
Now let's not get the playoff tickets printed yet. They still have a steep climb to reach that mark. But the fact that the prospect of making the playoff isn't that far-fetched is more than I would have though t a few weeks ago.