Over the weekend, the Detroit Tigers moved into a tie for first place with the Cleveland Indians. (Some would quibble that the Indians are a thousandth of a point ahead of the Tigers, I would tell them to get over themselves.) On Monday, the Tigers beat the Rays. On Tuesday, they beat the Indians to move into sole possession of first place. On Wednesday, the poll closed. And on Thursday, the tallied results show that fans ... lost confidence?! After a season-high of 76.4 last week, today's results came in at 72.1.
OK. Obviously this is all just for fun and it can fluctuate based on who decides to vote that day and, apparently, whether they're on a 70 week or 80 week in keeping to their attempts to create a 75 average. But it is a bit strange to see the poll ebb despite the continued forward progress of the team.
So it got me thinking. Maybe there are some reasons to have a drop in confidence. Two of them are in the rear-view mirror, but objects may appear closer than they actually are. Chicago and Minnesota. Both have been winning lately.
Today, Chicago is 4.5 games behind Detroit, and Minnesota is 9. On June 1, the White Sox were 3.5 games out and Twins 11.5. Both teams give you reason to fear them, I think.
The White Sox have hung around despite some of their better established players not having the best of years. Starter John Danks has a 2-8 record and 4.54 ERA. Jake Peavy has battled health issues and has been ineffective when on the mound between them. You have to think at least one of those two players turns it around. Meanwhile designated hitter Adam Dunn appears to be struggling to adjust to the American League, but always has the potential to bust out and turn that bandbox of a home field into a postage stamp.
The Twins may be a ways back, but they've also spent most of the season without their best player: Joe Mauer. He is set to return to the team on Friday. Meanwhile you've got Justin Morneau batting .225 with just a .619 OPS. And of course, you've got Minnesota being a team known for better for its closings than openings. So there's always that fear they're messing around with the rest of the division, playing possum and waiting for a second half push. (That push may have began: they're 10-2 in their last 12 games.)
Or, maybe fans just foresaw Brennan Boesch making a couple of defensive gaffes and Brad Penny blowing a 3-0 lead while realizing Ryan Raburn is the second baseman? I guess that could hurt my confidence, too.