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Tigers clinch playoff spot for a 4th consecutive year

Detroit is back in the playoffs! But there's work left to be done.

Duane Burleson

Sure, it's not the goal. But it's a necessary first step. The Tigers clinched a spot in the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season with the Seattle Mariners' defeat by the Blue Jays on Wednesday night. Their magic number to win the AL Central fell to three after the Indians beat the Royals later in the night.

In March this seemed like a foregone conclusion. In April it seemed like a foregone conclusion. In May it seemed like a foregone conclusion. Through June -- even when a slump cost the Tigers their division lead -- and July, it still seemed like a foregone conclusion. In August, well, there was reason to doubt. Earlier in September, you didn't have to hide your fears the Tigers might actually find a way not to make the playoffs. It was not likely, yet ... well ... you never know.

Fear no more. The Tigers are back. This is the first time in franchise history the Tigers made the playoffs four straight years. And now we can start thinking about playoff rosters and rotations and optimal bullpen strategy for real.

Let's celebrate a little. Just a little. It's not even a division title yet. We can save bigger celebrations for later. But at least they're in.