15 Days: Number of Ryan Raburn Home Runs in 2010 14 Days: Number of C..."/> 15 Days: Number of Ryan Raburn Home Runs in 2010 14 Days: Number of C..."/>

Detroit Tigers Opening Day Countdown: 8 Days

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15 Days: Number of Ryan Raburn Home Runs in 2010
14 Days: Number of Cards in 2003 Topps Base Set
13 Days: Number of Starts by Jacob Turner for Lakeland in 2010
12 Days: Number of Franchise Playoff Appearances
11 Days: Number of Tigers Rookie Debuts in 2010
10 Days: Number American League Pennants Won
9 Days: Number of Consecutive Years With Only One All-Star (1995-2003)

The Tigers 2011 season will kick off on March 31 in New York against the Yankees. That’s only eight days away. Even though the Tigers will open with an American League opponent (and don’t play anyone from the NL until the middle of May), today’s topic will have an interleague twist. That’s because the Tiger’s historical record in interleague play ranks them 8th in Major League Baseball.

Since the inception of interleague play in 1997, the Tigers have amassed a 134-114 record against the National League (that’s a .543 percentage). That win percentage is equal to a record of 88-74 if it were applied to a 162 game season. That’s pretty good. Especially when you consider that the Tigers had some very lean years for the first half of the time span.

Now, I said that the Tigers rank 8th in all of baseball in interleague winning percentage, and while that’s true, it makes it seem better than it actually is. Because while the Tigers rank 8th in baseball, they also rank 8th in the American League. The top seven teams in interleague win percentage come from the American League, with the 8th spot being a tie between Detroit and the Florida Marlins (wouldn’t have been my first guess).

Looking back at the percentages, it was kind of shocking to me how dominant the AL has been over the NL. Of the 14 AL teams, only five have sub .500 records (Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, and Toronto), but of the 16 NL teams, only five teams sit above .500 (Atlanta, Florida, New York, St. Louis, and San Francisco). I guess I expected to see that the AL’s dominance has been overstated, but I’m not sure that’s the case.

Anyway, the Tigers record against the NL is good, but is it “good enough”? In order to compete in the AL, it’s assumed that you’re going to do very well in your interleague games. I’ve felt that the Tigers “do well” against the NL, but simply doing so won’t set you apart from the competition (because, it seems, they all “do well” too).

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