Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Detroit Tigers - Do You Believe In Miracles?

I haven't been blogging much on the Tigers lately because frankly, I'm just too amazed. I mean how do you describe a team going from 71-91 to the best team in the majors with only minimal roster changes? Everything has come together just right and they are rolling. While the pitching has cooled off since the All Star break, the bats are just heatting up and guys like Craig Monroe and Brandon Inge are just knocking the cover off the ball.

Here's a bunch of random tidbits describing their dominant performance thus far

  • Their 73-36 record puts them 7.5 games up on the Yankees for the best record in the majors and 8 games ahead of the White Sox in the AL Central.
  • Their +142 run differential is light years ahead of anybody else with the Yankees (+97), White Sox (+89), and Mets (+87) coming in way behind.
  • Their 3.73 ERA? Yep, first in the bigs with 4.09 of the Mets and Angels next closest. Their pitchers also lead the league in saves (39) and shutouts (12).
  • If it weren't for Francisco Liriano's brilliance, Justin Verlander might be leading the chase for both the Cy Young and rookie of the year. He's 14-4 with a 2.79 ERA. The wins tie him with Curt Schilling for most in the majors and the ERA is #2 in the American League
  • Craig Monroe? Where the hell did you come from?
    Monroe has hit nine homers this season in the seventh inning or later with the difference in the game two runs or fewer. That ties him with Boston's David Ortiz for the most such homers by any player in the majors, according to research by homer historian and analyst David Vincent.
  • The Tigers just inked their #1 draft pick Andrew Miller. He was the consensus best talent in the draft and somehow fell into their laps at #6. There is actually a possibility that the Tigs snagged the best player in 3 consecutive drafts with Justin Verlander, Cameron Maybin, and Andrew Miller. He's a 6'6" lefty that throws in the mid 90s and has a nearly unhittable slider. It's not often you hear tales of right handed batters striking out against a lefty on pitches that hit them in the thigh, but he's done it. Lefties have almost no chance against his slider that starts out behind them before bending over the plate. Click here and scroll down a bit for some video of Miller pitching.
  • Baseball Prospectus currently pegs the Tigs with a 97.6% chance of making the playoffs in their Playoff Odds Report. Check it out, it's free.
  • The Tigers have been consistently winning games all year. It's not like one hot streak and a bunch of .500 ball. Check out their record by month: April 16-9; May 19-9; June 20-7; July 15-10; August 3-1 (and counting). Yep, their worst month thus far was playing .600 ball in July. For the record, the Yankees (.613) and the Red Sox (.602) are the only teams with season long winning percentages higher than the Tigers worst month.
  • And here's a bunch of pics of the Tigers having fun and winning games (and these are just from the last week or two):

I only have vague and fuzzy memories of 1984 and 1987, so it is safe to say this is the most fun I have ever had watching the Detroit Tigers. What a summer. Here's hoping for one hell of a fall!



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