June 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland (10) gestures at the batting cage before playing against the Pittsburgh Pirates in an interleague game at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Detroit Tigers Playoff Math

The Tigers after last night’s loss to Texas are now 74 games into the season, and still struggling to get to that elusive .500 mark. With Doug Fister on the bump in the series finale, Detroit has to feel good about its chances to win tomorrow’s ball game, drawing them within one win of the break even point, and when that happens (and it will), we can all start seriously talking about Detroit and the playoffs again.

It’s pretty clear at this point, with all the A.L. East teams over .500 by a few games, that the Tigers are going to have to win the A.L. Central to be in the post-season. Certainly not out of the question given that the Central stinks, and they are only three games back. Currently, the White Sox are the leaders at 39-35, and have just fired the first bullet in the 2012 trade market. I’m not too nervous about them acquiring Kevin Youklis, who is a shell of his former self, but he will help that team given the abysmal performance the Sox were getting from their third basemen.

The Sox are on pace at this point to win 86 games. That is one heck of a low number for a division champion, but it is what it is. I think it is fair to say that the Sox could continue their current pace and winning percentage. I would even give them another win or two considering that Youklis is much better than Brent Morel and Orlando Hudson. One or two more wins puts the Sox at 87 or 88 wins, and that is the number the Tigers should be shooting for.

With the Tigers currently at 36-38, that means they are going to have to win anywhere between 50-53 of their remaining 88 games. Can you see the Tigers going 53-35 the rest of the way? At this point, if we were honest, I think most people would say no. However, we have no idea of trades that might be made to change the landscape of the race. Or whether the Sox or the Tigers will suffer key injuries.

And yes, I have completely discounted the Cleveland Indians. At this point, I might even be more concerned about the Royals. Their offense can be potent when it gets going, and their number one guy Eric Hosmer seems to have gotten better in the past couple of weeks.

Whether or not anything is done on the trade market, I would think that the Tigers at a minimum have to go 50-38. It’s certainly possible. That isn’t even winning 6 out of 10 games on the average for the rest of the season. But if the White Sox get hot and reel off 15 out of 20 or something, it might be too difficult a hill for the Tigers to climb.





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Tags: Detroit Tigers Doug Fister

  • timoteus

    Thanks for the numbers, John.  Boy, who’da thunk it?  Fortunately, as you pointed out, in a weak division like the AL Central, we ain’t out of it yet.  But c’mon boys, let’s turn it on!!

    • MCBjohnverburg

       @timoteus Lets say over the next 16 games the Tigers go 8-8, and the White Sox keep their pace, it would then make the Tigers have to go 44-28 to reach that number. There isn’t as much time as people think. Unless of course the Sox go in the toilet. Again, my assumption is they maintain their pace

  • ChrisHannum

    This team will not go 53-35 down the stretch unless guys like Boesch, Young and Avila start raking and Valverde stops blowing saves.  But maybe they don’t actually have to.  Do you expect the White Sox to go 49-39 from here on out?  I don’t.  That’s what it would take to put them at 88 wins.  If they go an equally plausible 45-43, they only win 84.  I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see 85 wins take this division, like the NL Central in 2006.  You’re right in one respect, though: you definitely like the Tigers chances to win the division with 89 victories… you’re a lot less comfortable about their chances as an 85 win team (that goes 49-39 from here on out) but it seems more likely that that is the scenario we may see play out.

    • MCBjohnverburg

       @ChrisHannum After adding Youklis, you’re assuming they are doing worse? I don’t see it. They are on pace for 86 wins, currently. Yes, 85 is plausible, but given that at 1.5 WAR by the end of the season, Youklis is a 2 win improvement, I gave them the benefit of the doubt.