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.