Whew. What a difference a week makes. Little more than seven days ago, Tigers fans were freaked out over the poor performance of the team, notably losing a series at home to the "lowly" Kansas City Royals. Since then, Detroit has had series victories over the Rangers and Seattle, and a split against the Athletics. The Tigers even went 4-3 on a road trip.
Well, maybe not. But in these week's confidence poll you can definitely see an improvement. The confidence number jumped seven points to 57. Overall, that appears to signify the BYB voters believe the Tigers will finish between second and third place. However, fully 70.3% of voters gave the team a vote of at least 70, or "will compete for the division title" in our voting guide.
So what good and bad plot points do we see this week?
The Tigers are nearly playing .500 baseball for the year even though they have played 13 of 19 games on the road. This seems to be a good sign. They won 4 of 7 on the recent West Coast trip. The A's and Mariners may not be playing great right now, but the Tigers did what they had to.
But they could have done more, which is probably what bothers some people. The offense scored just three runs during games Saturday and Sunday. It scored just six runs over the past two games. And it missed Felix Hernandez completely. The top of the order has stumbled, and Jim Leyland has done such confusing moves as move Ryan Raburn to second base and bat Don Kelly third in the order.
But still, unless you believe the Indians or Royals are going to represent the AL Central in the playoffs -- and I see no reason that should be the case -- the Tigers are in a decent place when compared to their division rivals. The Twins just can't get anything to go right and have an OPS so low your average catcher is a better batter than their entire team. The White Sox? Well, they just keep losing.
On the other hand, the Tigers are eighth of 14 AL teams in runs scored, and 13th in ERA. So, things aren't exactly smelling like roses for us either.
Put it all together, and I'm still a 70. I see absolutely no reason they are not a contender for the division title when you consider the teams in the division.
Detroit hosts a slumping White Sox team this weekend. We'll see how confident we feel after that.