Detroit Tigers: Ranking the 3 Most Important Series Left on the Calendar
While this has truly been an up and down season for our beloved Tigers, the real excitement of a postseason race is still yet to come.
It was not long ago when the Tigers were swept by the lowly Royals, only to bounce back and sweep Chicago at Comerica Park during a three-game series.
There is no doubt that each game will prove critical down the stretch, but there are three upcoming series where the Tigers must fire on all cylinders in order to stay in the playoff hunt.
Here are the three most important series for Detroit in the final few weeks of the regular season.
Chicago White Sox: September 10-13
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
It goes without saying that the upcoming series with the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field has the potential to make or break the Tigers' season.
Chicago currently has a 41-28 record at home this season, and they are hitting for a combined batting average of .275.
The White Sox have struggled recently, losing seven of their last 10, but there is absolutely no doubt that they will be ready for this series.
Detroit, who is currently 30-37 on the road this season, will send Rick Porcello to the hill for the opening game, followed by Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.
The White Sox will counter with Jose Quintana, Jake Peavy, Francisco Liriano and Chris Sale.
Also, It was recently reported (via mlive.com) that Gavin Floyd could come off of the DL in time for the series finale.
This is a crucial series for both teams, as each team is looking to put the other in their respective rear view mirrors.
This will be an exciting series, but look for Detroit to turn on the offense against the White Sox.
Prediction: Tigers take three out of four.
Oakland Athletics: September 18-20
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
When Oakland graces the Motor City, Detroit will need to show the ability to put away good teams as the postseason is right around the corner.
While this series will follow the Tigers' three-game set with the Cleveland Indians, Detroit will have to continue to put on an offensive onslaught in order to survive and win the series against an A's team with good pitching.
Oakland is currently 78-60, but they are only hitting for a combined batting average of .241 on the road.
In order for Detroit to win or sweep this series, the offense has to provide more run support for Tigers' pitching. This is a lineup capable of putting up five or more runs per game, but there are some nights where they are lucky to score one or two.
As of right now, the Tigers are currently scoring 4.48 runs per game, and they will need every one of them in order to beat a hot Oakland team that sees the postseason directly in their sights.
Look for Detroit to struggle a bit at home in this series.
Prediction: Tigers take one out of three.
Kansas City Royals: October 1-3
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
While this may not seem like a critical series to most, there is a very good chance that Detroit's postseason hopes will rest directly on the final three games.
Detroit has a total of seven games left against the Royals, but Kansas City always seems to be well prepared when the Tigers come around on the schedule.
They may have a combined 62-77 record, but these young Royals are playing better and better with each series.
Not only will this be a difficult series, but the fact that it is played in Kansas City may add even more stress and anxiety on this Tigers' lineup.
The Royals have been hitting the ball better as of late, with a .287 batting average in their last seven games, but their record does not reflect this play.
However, there is no doubt that the Royals would love the chance to spoil Detroit's postseason hopes in the final three games of the season.
Detroit will be ready to punch their postseason tickets when this series roles around.
Prediction: Tigers take three out of three.