What if I told you the Tigers were not just scoring runs, but scoring them better than almost every team in the American League? Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Yet that is the case.
With one game left in the month of August, the Tigers have scored 136 runs this month. That puts them 15 behind the league-leading , and nine behind the All-Star laden . Not too bad, hey? For all their struggles, for all the injuries, for losing Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen, for spending half the month playing against pretty strong opponents, Detroit still found ways to score.
August is actually the highest-scoring month of the season for the Tigers. They put 126 on the board in June and 120 in April. Of course, scoring runs hasn't helped their winning percentage greatly. In June, they actually gave up more runs than they scored yet had a .556 winning percentage to show for it. (A harbinger of losses to come?) In August they've scored more runs than they've allowed yet have just a .464 winning percentage. (To be fair, they only crested that hill when they won 10-4 on Sunday.)
How did this happen? In a name: Miguel Cabrera. In two names? Ryan Raburn.The two batters alone combined for more home runs in the month than the entire Oakland A's lineup. Cabrera continued putting up potential-MVP numbers with a line of .304 average, .467 on-base percentage and .598 slugging average. He hit seven home runs and walked 28 times.
Raburn, meanwhile, absolutely loved the month of August. With an OPS of 1.010 (.323/.374/.636) and seven home runs. He led the team by driving in 21 RBI. For Raburn, the final two months of the season have been a very, very good to him recently. Last season he had an OPS of .957 in August and 1.108 in September/October.
A few more keys: Newcomer Jhonny Peralta may be hitting just .229 (.701 average), but he does have four home runs. Off the bench, Donny Kelly has a .341 average (.901 OPS) in 42 plate appearances, along with three home runs. And hey, even Brennan Boesch homered for the first time since June.
Now, the important thing to remember is that none of these stats is -- well, OK. excluding Cabrera's -- is any guarantee of things to come in September.
Now, if Detroit can just get the starting pitching to stay hot and the bullpen to join the fun ...