Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Cy Young Talk & Other Good Things

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Jul 31, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) receives congratulations from designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) after he hits a home run in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 31, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) receives congratulations from designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) after he hits a home run in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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It’s almost too good to type: The Detroit Tigers are hot, in more ways than one. After sweeping the Red Sox at Fenway Park, completely dominating the Houston Astros at Comerica Park, and a nice little victory against the White Sox, they are looking like a team that is aiming for greatness.

After sweeping the Red Sox at Fenway Park, completely dominating the Houston Astros at Comerica Park, and a nice little victory against the White Sox, they are looking like a team that is aiming for greatness.

Not only are the Detroit Tigers sitting just 1/2-a-game back out of the Wild Card race. They are also closing in the Cleveland Indians, who just happened to lose Danny Salazar to the DL. Not to mention, the Indians have lost two in a row to the Minnesota Twins.

Things are looking up for the Tigers.

One of the most amazing realizations for the Tigers is that Justin Verlander and Cy Young have been mentioned in the same sentence. And not from retrospects on 2011. He is one of the hottest pitchers in the AL. In terms of stats, he is in the top five in WAR (3.6), WHIP (1.059), innings pitched (147.1), strikeouts (155), and complete games (2). He is still recovering statistically from his disappointing April, but the numbers are looking good.

In fact, his stats have been so good that he was named the AL Pitcher of the Month for July:

Not too shabby for a guy who was considered washed up for two years in a row. His July stats are impressive: 1.69 ERA, 1 home run allowed, 48 strikeouts, .171 batting-average-against, and 4-0 win-loss record. Not too bad. Don’t forget that he also had the complete game at the end of the month against the Astros. He only seems to be getting better and stronger with each outing.

Along with JV’s impressive numbers, the team overall has some shocking stats. In the team’s last 30 games, they are 20-10. For comparison, the Cleveland Indians are 17-13, the Toronto Blue Jays are 19-11, and the Boston Red Sox are 17-13. Rumor has it that the Tigers have the best 30-game record in at least the American League (but I’m going to confirm it by counting all of other team’s records).

Jul 19, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez (19) kisses the ball during the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 19, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez (19) kisses the ball during the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

While many people say that pitching wins games, in my opinion, it’s hitting that does the majority of the job. Without scoring runs, teams will not win. Basic stuff. In the last 10 games (that includes the fluky walk-off losses in Chicago), the Tigers have scored 70 runs to their opponents’ 40 runs. And, this is with pitchers like Mike Pelfrey and Anibal Sanchez on the mound. In fact, in the last 4 games alone, the Tigers have scored 39 runs and the pitchers were Matt Boyd, Verlander, Pelfrey, and Sanchez.

When it comes to scoring, there are three Tigers with batting averages above .300: Cameron Maybin, Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martinez. Cabrera awed his fans with three home runs in the last two games. With those RBIs, he passed Mickey Mantle and is now has five RBIs more than The Commerce Comet with several more years of batting to go.  He also passed Cal Ripken in career home runs with his latest one on Tuesday night. 

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Ian Kinsler and Nick Castellanos are above .280. The Tigers tend to score their most runs in the later innings, with the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings being their most dominate. The Tigers are sitting in third with their overall team batting average (.268), behind the Red Sox (.286), and the Los Angeles Angels (.269).

Tigers fans are often critical of the bullpen, simply because of years of disappointment. But, this year, the Tigers bullpen has been better than usual. The biggest sign is the number of runs scored in the later innings. The Tigers have their weakest pitching in the fourth inning – which usually belongs to starting pitchers. The strongest pitching comes in the 9th, where the fewest runs have been scored against the team. This is a nice change from years past. The 7th and 8th innings still need some work, but the numbers are better than previous years. This is a good thing that will keep the Tigers moving in the right direction.

Next: Congratulations to Justin Verlander: AL July Pitcher of the Month

There is something to be said about how the Tigers quietly have chipped away at their opponents. The silence at the Trade Deadline may not have garnered much attention, but it seems like this team doesn’t need it. We, the fans, should just appreciate what we are seeing, sit back, and enjoy the games. #goggleson

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