Detroit Tigers notes: Will late-season stretch be like 2012 (World Series) or 2007 (miss playoffs)? – John Lowe, Detroit Free Press
In the final 10 days of August 2007, the Indians went 9-1 and moved from a half-game ahead of the second-place Tigers to 5½ games ahead. The Tigers never got closer than 4½ games to the Indians in September, and Cleveland clinched the Central with a week left in the season.
In 2012, the Tigers dropped their final game of the season with the White Sox on Sept. 17. That left them three games behind Chicago with 16 games to play. Despite having no more games against the White Sox, the Tigers overtook them and won the division with room to spare.
The scary thing about 2007 was the Tigers did play fairly well down the stretch, but the Indians were red-hot and Detroit could never make up any ground. The 2012 White Sox, on the other hand, got ice cold when they could least afford it, allowing the Tigers to overtake them. One thing we know about Kansas City is they have the ability to get ice cold, but they also have the ability to stay very hot.
There is still work to do and hurdles to cross, but Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is hopeful right-hander Anibal Sanchez will be ready to return to the starting rotation next weekend in Chicago. Sanchez threw Saturday and will throw again Monday in Detroit during the team’s off day. If things go well Monday, Sanchez will throw off a mound Wednesday. The Tigers will determine his status at that point, but Ausmus said he could not rule out the possibility that Sanchez could start Saturday during a doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox.
If Anibal can come back next weekend, it would be a huge boost for the Tigers because when he was first injured, some speculated he might be out until mid-September. It was also be a huge opportunity to avoid heavy reliance on the bullpen once again since next weekend is another double-header weekend.
Joe Nathan’s Shakiness Could Hinder Detroit Tigers’ Playoff Hopes – Brad Faber, Rant Sports
If the Tigers want to be playing baseball in October, it is imperative that Nathan does his job. If he continues to get hit around the way he has, the Tigers might have a hard time getting to the postseason. He needs to start getting quick outs and showing that he can protect a one-run lead pronto.
Most Tigers fans all season long were saying when the Tigers make the playoffs. These last few weeks have gone to if or hopefully. I am amazed that Joe Nathan has made it this long as closer being this bad. Why the Tigers would tempt fate with him in that role in the postseason when games get tight and low-scoring is beyond me. Of course that is if they get there.