The bi-weekly freak out

The Tigers just got done playing about a week and a half of their worst baseball. They dropped 5 of 6 to the Royals and managed only a split in a 4 game set with the Blue Jays. They struggled against bad teams while the Twins shaved 3 games off of what looked to be a nearly insurmountable lead. Thoughts of a Metrodome sweep and blowing the division are prevalent. But haven’t we been here before?

Don’t we go through this every couple of weeks when the team struggles, and the division lead appears to be in jeopardy? We look at the recent performance and don’t understand how the team can ever win another game. Remember when the White Sox tied things up just ahead of a 4 game set. The Tigers lead was at its most tenuous then, and the Tigers won the next 3 games.

A couple of weeks ago the Twins were charging and the Tigers dropped 2 of 3 in Oakland. Once again the division was surely lost. Except Detroit took 2 of 3 in LA, split a 4 game set with the Rays, swept the Indians and then went on the road to sweep the Rays in Tampa.

But here we are with 90% of season in the books and people are still caught by surprise with this team on a regular basis. The Tigers are essentially a .500 team. They’ll go on little win streaks where people think they are clicking and then little funks where it doesn’t look like they’ll win another game. They are a couple wins above .500 due to some luck or late inning magic, but the team is average to maybe a little above average. That’s why I don’t understand why a 3-7 stretch should forecast doom more than 146 games should predict mediocrity.

With a 4 game lead the Tigers don’t have to play great down the stretch. They just need to be themselves. There are no magical teams chasing them. With the 3 games in the dome a worst case scenario is that on Monday the Tigers are still in first place. That’s not a horrible place to be with what would be just 13 games remaining.

The above paragraphs don’t make me any less nervous, but it is an excited kind of anticipation type nervousness. Nothing is a sure thing and with only 16 games left either the Twins or the Tigers could get hot or cold. But based on what we know about these teams the odds are that both will remain fairly mediocre. In any case, the last 3 weeks of the season should be interesting. Maybe agonizing, maybe exciting. But don’t put too much into the struggles with the Royals. It was just 6 games.


  1. Kurt

    September 18, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Exactly, Bill, exactly!

    Fun fact: the Twins are no better than the Tigers on the road, and will leave Minnesota after Sunday’s game for 10 consecutive games away from the Dome. Something tells me they’re not going to win them all.

  2. Walewander

    September 18, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    And hey, aren’t we due, after all these years, to sweep the Twinkies in the Homerdome once before they finally tear that monstrosity down?

    AVENGE 1987

  3. Jason

    September 18, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Very nice perspective going into the final 16 game stretch billfer. I am with you in the worst case we are still in 1st and that is all that counts. In fact this cold stretch could be a blessing in disguise. I would much rather get hot going into the playoffs instead of the other way around. Just think if the last 10 was turned around at 7-3 which would not have been that far fetched considering the teams they played. We would still have a 7 game lead and chance the Tigers relaxing and letting there guard down at the end and not having any good momentum going into the playoffs

    Just another sports blogger here who loves his teams


  4. Coleman

    September 18, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Well I’m nervous. I said a few games back I wasn’t about to be the least bit nervous until the Twins won, you know, like 2 games in a row. Well, now they have, so there you go.

    But nonetheless it’s an enjoyable nervousness. It’s not like an “oh no, are the Lions about to set the all-time record for consecutive losses” or an “is Michigan actually going to lose this game to Appalachian State?!” type of nervousness.

    You know, more akin to what the French would call “frisson.”

    (Yes, I know, French and baseball go together like…well, like Montreal and baseball. But I’m blanking out on the a propos Latin term here…)

  5. Don

    September 18, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Essentially, it’s the top of the ninth. Tigers lead the Twins by one. Looks pretty good that they’ll win, but’s the Twins and no lead is safe. That’s where the season is at. Nervous excitement. But isn’t that why we watch the game?

  6. Cameron in Singapore

    September 18, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Well I wish I could have that attitude. I’m nervous, really really nervous.
    I realize the Tigers aren’t a great team by any stretch, but after expending so much energy into rooting for them this year and having the relief of the seven game lead a couple weeks ago, it would be pretty devastating if they don’t hold on to the division.
    Please Tigers, turn it around!