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Confidence collapses as Tigers lose for a week

Week of May 2 Confidence Poll
Week of May 2 Confidence Poll

Ouch. The Tigers were in the midst of a seven-game losing streak as the confidence poll opened on Monday. They were just beginning a winning streak against the Yankees as it closed.

The result was a confidence poll score that absolutely collapsed since last week, and a voting chart whose most-frequent vote (a 50) occurred just 17% of the time. As for our other baseline I like to follow week to week -- what percentage of voters gave a 70 or better -- only one in 10 BYB voters did so. Hey, when you lose for an entire week that's what you get.

So what happened during the last 9 or so days? Well, a sweep by Seattle in Detroit wasn't good. A sweep by Cleveland -- the hottest club in baseball -- brought the mood crashing further.

I think I even voted a 50 this week. Not that I don't think Detroit will be in it in the end. I do. The playoff odds at Baseball Prospectus reflect that Detroit still has a pretty good chance to win the division as well, though the Indians' 7.5 game lead makes them the favorites right now.

What do I think? Well, every team has a fairly ugly losing streak. Some teams have multiple losing streaks. And when you're losing, the games aren't going to be pretty. So I'm not surprised the Tigers lost a bunch in a row, and I'm not surprised they looked bad at times.

But as far as losing streaks goes, it could have been worse. The Tigers' final four losses in a row were decided by one run or in the ninth inning or later. I like to call those "winnable." Despite the fact the lineup consisted of Miguel Cabrera -- with a case of IBS, er the IBB -- and not a lot of help otherwise. Despite the fact Joquin Benoit somehow allowed as many runs during the past week as the previous season altogether.

Losing is bad. Don't get me wrong. But things could be worse. Hey, the Twins have given up 62 more runs than they have scored already this year. The White Sox have given up the most runs in the division.

I know. You don't want to hear relativism. You already think the Indians won the division or the Tigers are too flawed to win it. But I have to tell you. It's May. Every game may count in the end of the season, but learning about your team in the first couple of months helps you make the decisions that lead to wins later in the year when you're facing down your division opponents trying to take the Central title away from them.

No team has won it yet. No team is out of it yet. Cleveland's not going to finish the season at its current 115-win pace. If Detroit gets Magglio Ordonez and a couple of roll players going, things are going to be just fine.

And I have to say, I believe it's a lot more likely some players get close to their career norms than they continue at such awful paces.

Just ask the Yankees about that one.