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Shades of '84

The 2013 Tigers' streak is half as long as the 1984 Tigers' historic start

Opening day, 2013
Opening day, 2013
Leon Halip

The Tigers' streak of 12 wins was snapped Friday night, but it took extra innings. On Saturday they started a new winning streak, extending back to the series in Kansas City immediately following the All Star break.  The Friday game of that series was a tough 1 to 0 defeat.  The Saturday game was another one run defeat, 6 to 5.  That was twenty games ago.  The Tigers' record in those games is 17 wins and 3 losses, and included a 12 game winning streak.  The 1984 Tigers won 35 out of 40 games, but with two streaks of nine wins and two streaks of seven wins.

If you are too young to remember the 1984 Tigers' historic run, the last twenty games have provided a glimpse of what it was like.  Though the 2013 Tigers' streak is not on the same level, they still seem invincible and anticipation is high for every game.  The 1984 Tigers' streak was from game one.  After forty games the question was not whether they could win the division but whether they could set a record for wins in a season.  When a team is this hot, every game seems winnable.  If the Tigers were facing the Dodgers tomorrow and Clayton Kershaw were the starting pitcher, wouldn't you expect a win?

The five losses of the 1984 Tigers' streak were all close games.  The worst was a 5 to 2 loss to the Royals and a young Bret Saberhagen.  There was also a two run defeat, two one run defeats, and a loss in a 19 inning marathon.  The 2013 Tigers' last three losses were by three runs, one run, and one run in 10 innings.  As Miguel Cabrera showed last night, they are alive even when down to their last out against Mariano Rivera.

The 1984 Tigers' streak included four games with double digit runs scored.  The 2013 Tigers have also scored in double digits four times on their streak, though in half the games.  Both teams have excellent starting pitching.  It took the 1984 team a while to settle in on Willie Hernandez as the closer, and it took the 2013 team a while to settle in on Joaquin Benoit as the closer.

Is Matt Tuiasosopo this team's Rusty Kuntz?  Kuntz was a right-handed fourth outfielder who came out of nowhere and had a career year in a platoon role.  He drove in the go-ahead run in the final game of the 1984 World Series, so let's hope so.  After an above average 125 OPS+ in 1984, he had seven more plate appearances in his career.  Kuntz is currently the first base coach for the Royals, where the 2013 Tigers' hot streak began.