Detroit Tigers: Looking at recent disappointing seasons to predict 2016
By Matt Pelc
Jul 1, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) in the dugout before the game against the Oakland Athletics at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
2008 Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers entered into the 2008 season as heavy favorites to win the World Series, perhaps the one season in which the Tigers were the consensus to win it all during their recent run of success.
This came from being a surprise team to go to the World Series in 2006 and had a strong follow-up season in 2007. During the All-Star break that year the Tigers had the best record in baseball, but a resurgent Cleveland Indians team rolled in the second half. If Cleveland hadn’t been so hot, Detroit might have been able to survive being sub-.500 after the All-Star break because of how good they had played early on, but it didn’t happen that way.
In the offseason, Dave Dombrowski made the trade of the century, plucking young slugger Miguel Cabrera from the Florida Marlins for a bunch of nobodies (although Andrew Miller developed into a nice player, though he went through many teams to get there).
All of these factors made the Tigers seem like they’d be a juggernaut all season long.
But the team struggled out of the gate, particularly Cabrera who was learning the pitchers of his new league and was really bad at third base until Jim Leyland decided to shift him to first.
Shockingly, that team had some unfortunate breaks that saw them start the season at 0-7. Although they were able to eventually chip away at that deficit and start making a run, even making it to a high water mark of 52-49 on July 23, another poor stretch in the second half sealed their fate, finishing at 74-88.
One year later, there were no expectations that the Tigers would win anything, yet they won 12 more games and led the division for all of the second half until the final weekend of the year, and we all know what happened there.
But by simply going to a 163rd game showed that the franchise could bounce back from disappointment, even if 2009 wasn’t their year yet.
Neither was 2010…
Next: Team of Transition