Fall weather is in the air and the Detroit Tigers are well on their way to the playoffs.
According to most sporting news media, the Tigers were the favorite to win the American League Central division. As of now they have a commanding six game lead on the Cleveland Indians.
Going into the season, the main concern for the Detroit Tigers was their bullpen troubles. They seemed to overcome this obstacle throughout the season, and remained in first place for the majority of the year.
Jim Leyland wanted to give their closer Jose Valverde another shot this year. His shaky pitching in the late game forced the Tigers to let him go, again.
The Tigers seemed to find a new closing pitcher they can rely on in Joaquin Benoit who is 21 for 21 in save opportunities.
“A lot of people have short changed our bullpen a little bit; we’ve kind of had to make a shift this year. We’re just trying to fight through and keep winning games,” Said Leyland in a recent post game interview with The Chicago Tribune.
Justin Verlander’s play this season was down from recent years, which is something that nobody saw coming. Verlander has been known as one of the top pitchers in the MLB, but this season his numbers are pedestrian at best.
“He’s just kind of had a freak year; he certainly hasn’t had a bad year up to this point. He hasn’t had the type of year that we’re used to, but he certainly hasn’t had a bad year,” Leyland said about Verlander, on Mlive.com.
Verlander’s poor play has been picked up by the rest of the starting rotation for the Detroit Tigers.
Finding a way for the pitching to come together was crucial for the Detroit Tigers this season. Everyone knew they would be able to hit, but late game pitching was their main concern.
The Tigers’ hitting this season was as expected. According to MLB.com they are leading the majors in team batting average, and second in runs scored.
Miguel Cabrera’s performance this year was one of the best in MLB history.Going back to the year 1878 only 16 players have won the Triple Crown.
The Triple Crown is when you finish the season leading all players in homeruns, runs batted in, and batting average.
Cabrera won the Triple Crown last season, and was the first person to win it since 1967. This season Cabrera was in contention to win it again, which would be two years in a row.
Cabrera is leading the majors in batting average, and runs batted in, but trails Chris Davis from the Baltimore Orioles in homeruns.
The Tigers have been one of the most consistent teams in the majors this season. With the playoffs starting in October, the only thing stopping Detroit is themselves.