The Tigers kick off their portion of the postseason today. Fans and local media all seem to agree the Bengals have the goods to win it all. They also agree that Detroit has enough flaws to head home after Sunday’s game in Detroit.
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Then again that’s postseason baseball, now more than ever. Maybe that’s why the folks who write about the sport are increasingly disinclined to make playoff predictions.
Thankfully, ESPN has no such misgivings. They polled 24 baseball analysts from across the ESPN spectrum. The overwhelming favorite to win it all was Washington. Five picked the Dodgers. The Angels, Cardinals, Orioles, and Tigers all picked up one vote. The lone Tigers advocate: Michael Knisley (seems as though ESPN went pretty deep into their bench for this poll). Ten writers think the Tigers will at least win the AL pennant, most notably Jerry Crasnick. That also means nine of ten believe the Tigers will once again suffer World Series heartbreak. In all, 14 of 24 analysts pick the Tigers to beat the Orioles.
No other site trots out more names or picks than ESPN. Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com gives his odds for each team. He likes the Dodgers at 4-1 and then the Nationals at 5-1. Of the eight remaining teams he slides the Tigers in at fourth, with 7-1 odds. Heyman notes that the Tigers once again failed to live up to their potential. Few Tigers fans would quarrel with that. The bullpen, he suggests, will be the Tigers undoing.
Bleacher Report, relying it appears on the brave analysis of just one reporter, picks each round, including the number of games each series will go. Lots of love here for the Tigers. Detroit is expected to beat the O’s in five and then the Angels in six. Alas, BR’s warm and fuzzies for the Tigers end with a seven-game defeat to Doug Fister and the Nationals in the World Series. Can you imagine Fister winning game seven? Can you imagine the Dave Dombrowski interview that would follow immediately afterwards?
And for something a little different, the Wall Street Journal, who didn’t deigned to offer predictions, included the Tigers on their list of the five most hated teams in the 2014 postseason. Detroit came in at number four, mostly because they’ve won too much recently and have given out some massive contracts (which hurts the feelings of those little market guys, like, you know, Kansas City and that annoying team in Minnesota).
Finally, Vegas. They went all Sheryl Crowe, loving on LA. Both the Angels and Dodgers are 2-1 to win their respective pennants and 5-1 to win the World Series. The Tigers: 11-4 to win the pennant (which is second among AL contenders) and 6-1 to win it all, which puts them fourth.