6 wins. The trend? 5 of them were come-from-behind wins. THB takes a look at the positives and negatives of the Tigers first 8 games.
After essentially intentionally walking Miguel Cabrera in the 7th inning Tuesday, the Royals resigned to pitching to Carlos Guillen with the bases loaded, 2 out, and a one run lead. Guillen slapped the first pitch he saw with authority down the right field line which knocked in 2 runs, giving the Tigers the lead for the first time and for good.
Entering the bottom of the 7th inning, the Tigers trailed the Royals 5-0. They left the inning with a 6-5 lead.
Papa Grande, Jose Valverde, locked down the 9th with an uneventful 1-2-3. He shot his arms in the air, and the Tigers were 6-2 on the season, tied for first in the American League Central.
It has been a weird first 8 games, here’s what we can take from them:
Positive: The Tigers are winning the ballgames they need to. Those being games against the Royals and Indians.
Positive: The Tigers are not quitting. Down 7-1 to the Indians, and 5-0 to the Royals in the late innings, most teams may pack it in. Most managers may sit their stars. Most guys may just say, “There’s 162 games, we’ll be back tomorrow.” The Tigers have done none of that. They run out every ground ball, they are consistent in their approaches at the plate, and they never say die. That all starts with manager Jim Leyland.
Negative: The Tigers have trailed in 7 of the first 8 games in ballgames they need to win. Those being games, again, against the Royals and Indians. Sure, they’ve made dramatic comebacks, never gave up, and got it done, but these are the teams likely to be competing for last place in American League.
Positive: The starting pitching hasn’t been very good. It’s a positive in the sense that Justin Verlander’s struggles are NOTHING to be concerned about. This is a typical April for the Tigers’ ace, and he is absolutely electric. He will be fine. Despite those two bad outings, and an ugly outing from Willis and Scherzer, the Tigers are still 6-2.
Negative: The starting pitching hasn’t been very good. Willis’ outings are suspect, considering he has been in a lot of trouble, but fortunately for him, the Royals and Indians didn’t really capitalize.
Positive: Joel Zumaya looks nasty. In 3 games, he hasn’t given up a run, and curveball looks unhittable.
Positive: Magglio and Miguel, the real “M and M boys”, look as good as ever. Magglio is hitting over .380, and driving in runs. His approach at the plate looks far more relaxed and confident than this time last year. Cabrera is one of the most feared hitters in baseball, showing that already as he is tied for 3rd in major league baseball in walks.
Positive: This team clearly wants to win.
This is a long season, there is no denying that. 8 games isn’t nearly enough to prognosticate about the rest of the season. That said, I can tell you with absolute certainty that this team has chemistry and a desire to win, unrivaled by many teams. When JV finds himself, this team is going to be deadly.