Monday Morning Thoughts: Now we have a true race for the Central Division pennant

Catch the fever!

It's been a few weeks since I sat down to write some morning thoughts. But here we go.

We have a division race. A pennant chase, if you will, though when you use that phrase it has different meaning to different people, so I have started shying away from it. In any case, Detroit is a game back -- after annoyingly failing to control its own destiny by losing twice on Sunday -- as it attempts to defend its Central Division title. Less than a week ago, a loss to Chicago had some fans and pundits giving up the ghost.

Funny how that works, isn't it? Now Chicago's coming off a sweep by the Angels and the race is far from over And wild, too. Hold on to your seats, make sure to see your cardiologist and stock up on Tums. It made not be easy on your psyche, but it's sure better than playing out the string.

By the way, this bullet point seemed a lot more positive before six hours of futility by the team on Sunday, I realize. But a game is still just a game.

You of course know how great Cabrera has been playing lately. It shows up not just in the box score, but also in the standings. Entering play Sunday, he was hitting .357 with a 1.234 OPS in September. I swear I didn't make this a talking point just to type 1.234.

There are two things that seem premature to talk about to me. One of them is whether or not manager Jim Leyland will continue in his position at the end of this season. The other is 2013. The offseason is long. Like, part of October, all of November, December and January, and part of February long. We'll have plenty of time to decide what players should stay and what players should go. We'll speak wistfully of Victor Martinez and how great the middle of the Tigers' batting order will look. But right now, it's still 2012. The Tigers are in the hunt.

That point follows for Leyland. Some people want him gone if Detroit doesn't make the playoffs. (Some want him gone even if the Tigers are in the postseason). Maybe he'll be given an extension. Maybe he won't. Maybe he won't even want to come back for another year. It's just too early to be talking about such things. We'll have plenty of time just for those discussions later.

I will not be speaking or writing about 2013 until some point in October. I don't even want to read about it before then.

Fox Sports Detroit flashed a stat on the screen stating that the Tigers were 0-10 in one-run games dating back to some time in August. Well, 0-11 now I guess. If Detroit doesn't start winning one-run games ... or scoring more than one or two runs, for that matter, we'll all be talking about 2013 way earlier than hoped for.

I realize talking about the MVP is all the rage. Even I got sucked into doing it myself last week. But really, can we wait until the season is over before we try to crown someone? A lot can change in the next 10 games that can push the decision one way or the other -- or possibly to neither Mike Trout nor Miguel Cabrera.

And this prefabricated debate between WAR followers and traditionalists just seems so contrived. Haven't we been there and done that enough already? It bores me now. We're not talking about the future of our nation here. We're talking about baseball. It probably shouldn't be a my-way-or-the-highway thing.

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