Why, exactly, are the Tigers charged for the postseason?
This should be a question that's easier to answer. After all, I'm one of the people saying to calm down, to take a deep breath, to let the recent sweep in Kansas City slide off your back and that this weekend is a new opportunity.
Of all people, I really ought to be able to tell you why the Tigers are charged for the postseason. Yet I'm staring at a white background and a blinking cursor wondering what to write.
Some positive influence I am, huh?
This is what I've got:
- Because the pitching is still there. They gave up three runs in the past two games to the Royals. The only pitcher who struggled in the series is Justin Verlander. And he's probably not going to struggle again the rest of the year. The team has allowed an average of four runs per game in the second half. That is pretty darn good. The pitching has shown improvement in each month of the season. The rotation is looking better. Anibal Sanchez has appeared to work through his problems to look wonderful his past two starts.Max Scherzer has been locked in. Even Rick Porcello has been pitching consistently well. The bullpen has been fine. Things are going well here. Pitching wins. The Tigers have enough pitching.
- The lineup isn't as bad as it was the past two games, either. Look, do you really believe the Tigers are so bad they could only manage 1 run in their final two games against the Royals? Goodness, they'd be one of the worst teams ever to play the game if that were the case. A team that actually has the second-highest batting average with runners in scoring position in baseball managed to go 1-for-21 from the start of the ninth inning Tuesday to the close of the game Thursday. Miguel Cabrera made an out with runners in scoring position in the ninth inning during each of the games. Two diving catches in two days cost the Tigers possibly game-tying runs. Does any of that sound like normal to you?
Even with the two days of futility, August has been better to the Tigers than any other month. The team has scored an average of 4.84 runs per game this month. In July, it scored 4.69. In June, it scored 4.33. The pattern is going in the right direction.
- Record wise, July and August have been the TIgers' best two months of the season. If they had the same winning percentage during the first three months as they've had the final two months, no one would be sweating about the playoffs. They've won at a .596 clip since July 1. The only American League team with a better winning percentage during that time is Oakland.