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Are Tigers peaking too soon?

September 12, 2011
The Mining Journal

The Detroit Tigers are putting American League Division Series (ALDS) playoff tickets on sale today and why not?

The team holds an 11-game lead over Chicago in the AL Central Division standings and its magic number for clinching a playoff berth is in single digits.

If the Tigers make the ALDS, it will be the fist time since 2006, when the club advanced all the way to the World Series before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-1.

Article Photos

CRAIG?REMSBURG

If you're a Tigers fan, you're having a lot of fun right now. There's excitement in the air with the team and you know in nearly every game, the club has a good chance to win.

In the middle of August, the Tigers held just a 1 1/2-game lead in the division over the Cleveland Indians. But a 19-4 run since Aug. 19 - including recent three-game sweeps of the Chicago White Sox, the Indians and the Twins - has put the club in the driver's seat for the division title and a playoff berth.

It's the Tigers' to lose.

Tigers faithful won't breathe easy until the division crown is in the bag, however. That's because the memories of 2009 still come back to haunt those who follow the team.

That was the year the Tigers led the division from May 10 until the final week of the season when the Minnesota Twins staged a late rally, tied Detroit at 86-76 to set up a one-game playoff and then advanced to the postseason with a 6-5 win over the Tigers in 12 innings.

The play of the Tigers of late - good pitching and clutch hitting - has been remarkable. But the question has to be asked:

Are the Tigers peaking too soon?

You have to wonder whether the club is good enough, truly good enough, to continue its high level of play to the ALDS and beyond.

Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez have been shining all season. So has Jhonny Peralta, Alex Avila, Jose Valverde and Joaquin Benoit.

Brennan Boesch (before he got hurt), as well as recent acquisitions Doug Fister, Wilson Betemit and Delmon Young, are among those who have also played well.

But can they keep it up? Can the Tigers keep the motor running at full speed until they clinch the division and then keep it revved up for the ALDS?

There's still a lot of baseball left for the Tigers - 16 games remain in the regular season as of today. That's a long time for the team to stay sharp and play at the high level it has been playing lately with its nine-game winning steak.

Let's hope they have something left in the tank down the stretch and beyond.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.

 
 

 

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