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Tigers can still win 90 games this year: Here's how

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Gettin' Miggy wit' it.
Gettin' Miggy wit' it.

Every year around this time, I like to project the number of wins the Tigers will end up with. I did not see anything like Detroit's amazing 22-4 run that occurred last season. Most years, I feel I come pretty close.

This year is funny. Before the season, I saw a 90-92 win team. It was maybe a slightly better team than the one the Tigers had last year -- on paper anyway. But it seemed quite possible Detroit could both be a better team and not win as many games. The schedule was slightly more difficult, and the 2011 squad went on an unlikely run to end the year. So I came up with fewer wins.

For the first two-plus months of the season, the team made you question whether they'd be a bigger disappointment than in 2008. They couldn't even win two games in a row for a period of what, six weeks?

They got things on track during Interleague play, and have been playing above at a.610 clip since the All-Star break despite coming into the second half with a somewhat difficult schedule. (According to CoolStandings.com, when the second half opened Detroit's remaining opponents had a combined winning percentage of .513. making the Tigers' road the most difficult.)

Now things ease up. Twenty-two of Detroit's final 35 games are against the Twins, Indians and Royals. If the Tigers stay focused and avoid any major derailments along the way, they might just get to 90 games after all.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about the rest of the season:

Tigers' remaining strength of schedule: .477 (Cool Standings)

Home/away records: Home: 39-26; Away 30-32

Home/away games remaining: Home: 17; Away: 19

First-half winning %: .512
Second-half winning %: .610

Series-by-series look:

at Royals (3)

So far: 7-1 (3-0 in Kansas City)

Prediction: The pitching matchup favors Detroit in all three games, and they've handily taken care of the Royals this season. But I hate to predict a sweep. So I'll say Tigers win the series, 2-1.

vs White Sox (3)

So far: 7-4 (5-1 in Detroit)

Prediction: We know Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander will pitch in this series. We do not know whether Doug Fister or Drew Smyly will get the nod. The Tigers swept the Sox during the last series in Detroit, but again, safer to say 2-1. It will be an entertaining series.

vs. Indians (3)

So far: 5-7 (4-2 in Detroit)

Prediction: The home team has been pretty dominant for most of this series. Cleveland did take two of three in Detroit while the Tigers were struggling a bit, though. Looks like it should be Sanchez, Porcello and Fister on the mound for the Tigers. Cleveland's not nearly as good as it was earlier this year. I'm feeling 2-1 is safe.

at Angels (3)

So far: 5-2 (all in Detroit)

Prediction: The Tigers get a day off if they want to move the rotation members around a bit. so it's harder to project rotations from this point forward. It looks like Scherzer, Verlander and Sanchez going for Detroit. LA isn't a real strong home team, but you have to go back to 2009 for a Tigers series win there. This could be the year. Still, safer to say 1-2.

at White Sox (4)

So far: 7-4 (2-3 in Chicago)

Prediction: It appears the Tigers should have Verlander pitching in the final game of this series with only Sanchez missing out. Anyway, I'm going ultra-conservative and saying the Tigers win just one game of the series. This helps balance out what might be seen as optimism elsewhere. However, it really is hard to see how they don't find a way to split.

at Indians (3)

So far: 5-7 (1-5 in Cleveland)

Prediction: The home team has done well, but at this point I think you have to note Detroit's just a much stronger team. 2-1 Tigers.

vs. A's (3)

So far: 2-2 (all in Oakland)

Prediction: This looks like the last "tough" series for the Tigers. It's the last one against a playoff contender, anyway. Detroit takes two.

vs. Twins (3)

So far: 7-5 (2-2 in Detroit)

Prediction: The Twins haven't rolled over as easily as we'd wish, but they haven't been a wall halting Detroit's progress either. 2-1

vs. Royals (4)

So far: 7-1 (4-1 in Detroit)

Prediction: I have to go with 3-1 based on everything we've seen this year.

at Twins (3)

So far: 7-5 (5-3 in Minnesota)

Prediction: Detroit hits the road for the final six games of the year, and it still doesn't have a playoff spot sewn up. Tigers fans remembering history are already shaking like leaves. A 1-2 Minnesota trip doesn't help.

at Royals (3)

So far: 7-1 (3-0 in KC)

Prediction: You know what a thorn in the Tigers' side the Royals have been this season. Make or break: The Tigers make away with two.

If I've added everything up properly, this is what I see. Even if it doesn't add up like the above, this is still what I see:

Record today: 69-58 (.543)

Record for rest of the year: 21-14 (.600)

Final record: 90-72 (.555)

So if you know me, I'd call that a high likelihood of 89 to 91 wins and I'll call 90 my most likely figure. Will the series happen just like I called them? I really doubt it. But they might trip up at home and make it up on the road. They might sweep and get swept. Whatever. In the end, this is just what feels most likely to happen to me.

Is that record good enough to make the playoffs? What do you think?

BONUS INFO (compiled by Tigerdog1)

Detroit Tigers schedule with probable starting pitchers

DATE DAY OPPONENT PROBABLE STARTER
August 28 Tuesday at Kansas City Verlander
August 29 Wednesday at Kansas City Sanchez
August 30 Thursday at Kansas City Porcello
August 31 Friday Chicago Fister/ Smyly
Sept 1 Saturday Chicago Scherzer
Sept 2 Sunday Chicago Verlander
Sept 3 Monday Cleveland Sanchez
Sept 4 Tuesday Cleveland Porcello
Sept 5 Wednesday Cleveland Fister
Sept 6 Thursday OFF
Sept 7 Friday at LA Angels Scherzer
Sept 8 Saturday at LA Angels Verlander
Sept 9 Sunday at LA Angels Sanchez
Sept 10 Monday at Chicago Porcello
Sept 11 Tuesday at Chicago Fister
Sept 12 Wednesday at Chicago Scherzer
Sept 13 Thursday at Chicago Verlander
Sept 14 Friday at Cleveland Sanchez
Sept 15 Saturday at Cleveland Porcello
Sept 16 Sunday at Cleveland Fister
Sept 17 Monday OFF
Sept 18 Tuesday Oakland Scherzer
Sept 19 Wednesday Oakland Verlander
Sept 20 Thursday Oakland Sanchez
Sept 21 Friday Minnesota Porcello
Sept 22 Saturday Minnesota Fister
Sept 23 Sunday Minnesota Scherzer
Sept 24 Monday Kansas City Verlander
Sept 25 Tuesday Kansas City Sanchez
Sept 26
Wednesday Kansas City Porcello
Sept 27 Thursday Kansas City Fister
Sept 28 Friday at Minnesota Scherzer
Sept 29 Saturday at Minnesota Verlander
Sept 30 Sunday at Minnesota Sanchez
October 1 Monday at Kansas City Porcello
Oct 2 Tuesday at Kansas City Fister
Oct 3 Wednesday at Kansas City Scherzer
Oct 6 or 7 Sat or Sun LDS Game One Verlander

Of course, starting pitchers are subject to change at any time.

Update (BONUS BONUS INFO from Rob): Click this link to see a Google spreadsheet with the remaining schedules and projected starters for both the Tigers and White Sox.