Due to the utter lack of goodness over the past two days, I have decided to fore go the usual weekend recap format. There frankly just aren’t enough good things to say to justify a “Cheers for” segment anyhow. The only bonus is that the White Sox continue to choke on their own good fortune, as they dropped two of three to the Orioles at home. Don’t look now, but the Twins have crawled back into the discussion, as they now sit 4.5 games back. The Tigers had their chance to put the Twins away last week, but Detroit’s uneven play has allowed Minnesota to hang around. I fear they may regret that later.
The ugly reality is that Detroit scored all of nine runs over the three games in Oakland. The offense has been offensive all season away from home, but maybe never moreso than in these three games. Detroit’s outburst in Friday’s game was limited to a pair of solo homers from Ryan Raburn and a single from Clete Thomas. Saturday they made Trevor Cahill look great all night. Sunday they did score four runs, which in itself may feel like a win, but the A’s pounced on three Tigers’ rookies in putting up nine runs off Rick Porcello, Fu-Te Ni, and Ryan Perry.
The facts are that the Tigers have now dropped their past 11 road series. There is no team that is currently better than .500 with a worse road record than Detroit. Now they head to LA to play the Angels. There is a very real possibility of a sweep here, and not in the way we would want. The Angels are the highest scoring team in baseball. Detroit ranks much lower, especially away from the CoPa.
Detroit will send the top of the rotation to the hill against the Angels. Justin Verlander gets the opener, followed by Jarrod Washburn and Edwin Jackson. Anaheim, er, California, er, Los Angeles of Anaheim sends Jared Weaver, John Lackey, and Joe Saunders to oppose them. As much as the Tigers have struggled against lesser-named pitchers, I expect a series of 3-2 losses in this one.
Perhaps the Tigers best opportunity to keep their lead lies with the team that are chasing them. The White Sox are entering their toughest road trip of the season today. They begin with a four gamer in Boston, then a weekend trip to New York. They continue their trip with a three game set in Minnesota and finish it off with a make up game at Wrigley Field against the Cubs next Thursday. The White Sox would do well to end their trip at 4-7. Anything more than that should be viewed as a huge win for Chicago.
The Twins have the next nine at home. They get Baltimore for three, then Texas before welcoming the White Sox. The Twins have always enjoyed success in the dome, so this could be the time Minnesota leap-frogs the White Sox. I expect 6-3 at worst for the Twins in this home stand.
If the Tigers can survive the next three, and maybe steal a win in LA, they head home to face Tampa and Cleveland in a pair of three game sets. Assuming neither Minnesota nor Chicago pull off a huge run in the next week, the division lead should still belong to Detroit.
The real meat of the schedule doesn’t come for almost another month. Beginning on September 18, Detroit has a nine game road trip that takes them through Minnesota, Cleveland and Chicago. The then end the season with seven at home, hosting the Twins and White Sox. In all likelihood, the division race won’t be decided until then.