Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers Playoff Berth Includes Wins this Weekend

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Aug 6, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) and shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) celebrate after the game against the New York Mets at Comerica Park. Detroit won 5-6. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 6, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) and shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) celebrate after the game against the New York Mets at Comerica Park. Detroit won 5-6. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Detroit Tigers season has been full of ups and downs. Despite the roller coaster season, the team still has a chance to get to the playoffs.

But the Detroit Tigers do need to get a few key wins in these last few series of the summer.

If they want to make it October, this coming weekend is one of the most important remaining series.

Can They Beat Baltimore?

Tomorrow, the Tigers face the Baltimore Orioles to start a three-game series at Comerica Park. This is a series that can help the Tigers make more of an impact in the Wild Card race. Baltimore is one of the tougher teams in the AL, especially with all of the home runs that have flown off of their bats. While it is remarkable that the Tigers have five teammates with 20 or more home runs, the Orioles have six players with 20 or more also, and three of them have over 30. On his own, Mark Trumbo currently has 41 dingers.

Aug 3, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer (32) warms up before the second inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 3, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer (32) warms up before the second inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

One thing going for the Tigers is that the series is at Comerica Park. Camden Yard is a significantly smaller ballpark with dimensions that favor home runs. The power hitters from Baltimore should have the same struggle that every other hitter has when trying to go deep in Detroit. All of the walls at Camden Yard are at least 10 feet closer to home plate than the walls at CoPa. Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Justin Verlander are the pitchers for the weekend; so, Orioles’ home runs should be limited.

Baltimore’s pitching shouldn’t cause too much of a problem for the Tigers; but then again, the Tigers haven’t been dominant against average pitching. Kevin Gausman currently has the best ERA on the team with a 3.58 ERA and a WHIP of 1.281 in 146 innings.

Will the Tigers and Indians Average Out?

If the Tigers lose the series to the Orioles, they still have some hope – but not as much. The next most valuable series is against the Cleveland Indians the following weekend. It’s no secret that the Indians are resting relatively comfortably in first place in the AL Central with the Tigers continually scratching at their door. This is the first September series against the Indians and the Tigers must win it.

The Indians aren’t loaded with power hitters, but the team just meshes. They get the job done, getting hits and scoring runs. Honestly, there isn’t anyone that the Tigers can’t control on the starting roster (Rajai Davis is the starting CF). Mike Napoli is the biggest concern when it comes to home runs, but the biggest issue is the starting pitching. The Cleveland rotation only has one pitcher with an ERA over 4. And all of the pitchers have a win-loss record above .500 – which shows the dominance that this team has experienced all season.

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But, we all know that baseball is a game of averages. If averages work out, then the Tigers have already had all their losses against the Indians in the first half of the year. If the Tigers can pull off more wins than losses against their neighbors on Lake Erie, the AL Central could be theirs.

Must Win These Series

There are two other vital series in the second half of September. One is a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals and the final one is a four-game series against the Indians. These are just games if the Baltimore and Indians games don’t go to the Tigers.

Next: Make Rondon the Set Up Man

One thing is for certain, the Tigers must show up to these games. No one wants to see a repeat of the series against the White Sox.

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