Making a Case For The "Other" A.L. Contenders

Mike GreenspireContributor IAugust 4, 2009

Every year the sports world has a few things to be certain of in baseball: the Pirates trading away professionals for minor league talent, the Cubs getting another jinx, the Yanks and Sox duking it out atop the American League by their lonesome, etc. But this year we are in for a treat as the Red Sox and Yankees aren't the only ones who you may be hearing a lot about in October.

Here I am to make the case for one of those "other" teams, whether they be perennial bottom-feeders, or a team on the brink of success: These are the teams who the traditional powers in Boston and New York should be wary of. Due to "time constraints" (lunch-time), I will be covering the one team I think would at least put a dent in the Sox and Yanks.


Detroit Tigers (55-49, 2.0 game lead in AL Central as of the morning of Aug. 4)

The Tigers have had one of those years where they are somehow sneaking up on people again! Didn't America learn their lesson when the Motor City Kittys grabbed the AL Pennant out of literally nowhere in 2006?! Apparently not because the Tigs are back and better now than they were then.

Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson highlight an absolutely dominant pitching staff, which now includes former Mariners' ace Jarrod Washburn. Rick Porcello and Armando Gallaraga, who are both having fantastic seasons, round out the starting rotation for Detroit.

Their hitting has been on-and-off to say the least. Curtis Granderson leads the team in home runs with only 22, followed by Miguel Cabrera and 2009 Home Run Derby participant, Brandon Inge, at 21. Their leading RBI-hitter is 1B Cabrera with only 61. Yesterday's starting line-up combines for only a .238 batting average.

However, their hitting's best quality is their rallying ability. They have that will-power and determination that you see all season long in a Champion.

Now, I'm not necessarily saying that I think Detroit will win the ALCS, but... I'm also not necessarily saying Boston or New York will, either. Sure makes for an interesting pennant race!

I can't wait for October!

-Mike Greenspire