August 31, 2009
The Tigers as a team haven't exactly wowed us with their play this year, at least not for long consistent stretches of the season, but they have been good enough. In fact, that would be a good catch phrase for this year's team.
It's an interesting place for this team to be, good enough. If I had to peg good enough I'd say it's in between running away with it and close, but no cigar. Probably a shade closer to close, but no cigar.
You might think that a first place team with legitimate MVP and Cy Young candidates would be closer to running away with it, but with September looming, good enough seems good enough for me.
But the Tigers know all too well that good enough is all it takes to win it all. The 2006 version of the St. Louis Cardinals
were one of those good enough teams. Their 83-78 record was good enough to carry the NL Central that year and the Cardinals eventually took down our Tigers in the World Series.
So here the Tigers sit on the eve of September, in first place with as much of a cushion as they've had, holding their ground. And that's all they really need to do—86 wins should take the division. Playing one game above .500 will get the Tigers to 86 wins (17-16 down the stretch) and the Twins
would need to manage 21-11 to tie (forget the Sox, they're done).
With seven games remaining versus the Twins the Tigers sit in a position of luxury. The two series will be billed as the biggest of the season, but no pressure should sit on the Tigers. Even a 3-4 record against the Twins shouldn't harm the Tigers in their quest to win the division.
The Twins would need to manage 5-2 before anything interesting would actually happen, but with four of the seven games taking place in Detroit, that seems unlikely.
So the Tigers simply must do what they've been doing since they took over first place back in the spring, hold their ground. As long as we don't see a slump, they won't need a big winning streak.
And that would be good enough for me.