The Detroit Tigers just played through two series this week facing teams firmly in the postseason hunt, one against the Tampa Bay Rays, and one against the Houston Astros.
If fans didn’t catch them, it’s understandable. The Detroit Tigers’ record this year is the worst in the major leagues at 38-87, and Detroit is dangerously close to being mathematically eliminated from the postseason and have already been eliminated from AL Central division contention. Although that seems like a ‘no duh’ thing to say, that happening in before September is impressive in all wrong ways.
In the seven games the Tigers played, they were only able victorious in two of them. Of course, winning two out of seven games is not good. However, some people may have missed the content of the games played. Hidden in there are some surprisingly positive takeaways from Detroit’s pitching staff.
Yes, the Tigers did lose games, but they also ended up allowing over four runs in over half of their games this week- which isn’t something to get excited about. Yet, If you take a closer look at some of the more competitive games played this week, you will see some pitching gems seen very seldom throughout this season.
For example, the first two games in the Tampa Bay series only saw a combined three runs for both ball clubs. The first game ended in a Tiger victory 2-0, which was the third shutout of the year. It was an extremely efficient outing with Daniel Norris starting and Drew VerHagen being credited for the win. Detriot pitching a shutout has been hard to come by in the last couple of seasons. Hence, seeing one pop is a welcomed change of pace.
Even the next game, although a loss, was extremely promising. Tampa Bay ended as the victors in the game that had a 1-0 scoreline that went into the 13th inning. It was encouraging to see six consecutive Detroit Tigers pitchers keep Tampa Bay scoreless. That means the Tigers went over 21 innings without an opposing runner reach home. The game ended up in the other team’s favor, but it is hard to ignore the fight the Detroit Tigers had on the mound.
Now it is time to talk about one of the biggest upsets in betting sports history. The Tigers were able to defeat the Astros 2-1 last Wednesday, even after former Tiger legend Justin Verlander pitched a two-hit complete game. Houston is one of the best squads in baseball right now, and after their recent trade deadline moves, many people have predicted they can win it all. The fact that Detroit was able to steal one game at all is impressive, let alone the way they went about it. Norris shined again with Joe Jimenez sealing the game with his fourth save of the year.
The Tigers did lose five games in the past week, but they made sure they were competitive. Each of the seven games was within three runs. These games do not mean anything in the grand scheme of the season but will be great building blocks for Detroit’s rise to relevance in (hopefully) the near future.