So here we are at the mid-point of the season, one game over .500, 41-40. Not only that, but they've won 17 of their last 21! Very impressive. I'm not going to lie to you, I have been watching, waiting, and hoping to get back up to .500 this year. It's pretty much been what we've been hoping for since about oh, I don't know, mid-April? And here we are.
Sure, it's a tremendous accomplishment for the way this team started. But let's not buy our World Series tickets just yet. First let's take a closer look at that winning streak. 2 of those wins were against Cleveland (currently playing at a .451 pace.) 3 from the Dodgers (.469) 2 from SF (.439) 2 from San Diego (.386) and 3 from the Rockies (.390)
Granted, they did manage to wrest 2 out of 3 from the Cardinals (.566) and a sweep of the Pale Hose (.568) but Chicago really wasn't playing well during that stretch.
Still, 41-40 *IS* a game over .500, and good enough for third place in the Central right now, and we are all thinking that the Tigers are going to the post-season. Time for a good stiff shot of realism. Here are the last five years Central Division and Wildcard winners win totals:
2007 96 94
2006 96 95
2005 99 95
2004 92 98
2003 90 95
So to make the playoffs out of this division is going to require AT LEAST 90 wins. And that's clinging to some pretty slim odds. Here's how many games some relevant teams are on pace to win in 2008:
White Sox 91
So again, it's going to take at least 90 and a lot of praying. What would it take for the Tigers to win 90? They'd only have to go 49-32 the rest of the way, playing .605 ball. Here's some more pipe dream numbers for you:
To win PCT
In case you still don't see that as long odds, go look how many games the Tigers have against Minnesota in the next two weeks. Seven. Sure, they could sweep those two series, plus take out Cleveland and Seattle. But it's not likely. And I have to ask myself if the rookie pitchers are going to look this good all season. Or if the injuries to Mags and Brendan are going to let some of the recent gains fade quickly into memory.
It's been a great run, and this may not be the peak for the boys this year. But I think it's time that we ask ourselves "Can we be satisfied finishing third in the Central this year?" Because that's what this year's Tigers' destiny appears to be.
Now go out there and prove me wrong, Jim.