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Buckle up, Detroit; here comes a wild ride

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You know the saying: You can't win the division in April, but you can certainly lose it. Of course, I think that applies more to teams starting off the season 0-8 than anything. And any team starting off the year that poorly probably wasn't going to win the division anyway, no matter what the paper lion told you.

But anyway, the Tigers are entering the first key stretch of their season starting tonight in Seattle. And while I am usually the one to caution not to take anything before the All-Star Break too seriously, you have to admit the upcoming six weeks are pretty important for the Tigers because the level of difficulty appears to be quite high.

To wit:

The Tigers were off Thursday. Their next off day is May 6. That's nearly three weeks from now. That's a lot of baseball without a break.

Over the next 10 days, they have three games in Seattle, four in Anaheim and four in Texas. The games in Anaheim and Texas are night games on getaway days. I hope the Tigers remember that and schedule the Angels to play night games on their getaway days in Detroit next season.

When the Tigers get back from the West Division swing, they'll play 2009 playoff teams for nine games in a row.

A short respite against the Indians later, they'll meet the Red Sox and Yankees for seven games and the White Sox for two more.

So pretty much, by the time the Tigers start their second west-coast swing of the year with two games in Oakland on May 19 and three in Chavez Ravine, they could already be way down in the division race looking up.

But if they come out of it without being totally sunk, it should bode pretty well.

Buckle up, folks. We're in for a ride.

What would make this stretch of baseball a success for you? .500? .450? Being within a few games of first place? Being in first place?

For me, if the Tigers are within four or five games of first, I'm probably feeling fine. As we well know, it' not over until Game 163 162.