Easier Said, Then Won: Detroit's Breezy Schedule Makes a Minnesota Comeback Hard

Austin DrakeSenior Analyst ISeptember 1, 2009

After a split series with Tampa Bay, the Detroit Tigers hold a 3.5 game lead over Minnesota and a six game lead over Chicago in the American League Central Division race.

With the White Sox struggling mightily and seemingly throwing the towel in on the 2009 season, it all comes down to the Tigers and the Twins.

Detroit made their moves a bit earlier in the season, acquiring Jarrod Washburn at the trade deadline and getting Aubrey Huff in a waiver wire deal.

For Minnesota it has been recent moves that have helped them. Stocking up an already solid bullpen with the additions of Ron Mahay and Jon Rauch, and trading for shortstop Orlando Cabrera.

Early September's schedule seems to be an easy stretch for Detroit. As they have three games at home versus Cleveland, three away at Tampa Bay, three away at Kansas City, four at home versus Toronto, and three at home versus Kansas City.

As for Minnesota, the schedule in early September isn't any harder. As they finish up a series at home versus Chicago, the Twins have three games at Cleveland, four games in Toronto, three back home versus Oakland, and then three at home versus the Tribe.

In the time frame, the Tigers need to make a serious run and pull away from the rest of the division. This part of September is crucial, since Detroit will play 13 of its last 19 games versus Minny or Chi-Town.

The next 16 games for the Tigers could make or break this 2009 season. I say if Detroit can win at least 10 of these games, they will be in a great position to win the division.

With Miguel Cabrera a front runner for A.L. MVP, Justin Verlander in the A.L. Cy Young race, Rick Porcello in the A.L. Rookie of the Year race, a chance for Edwin Jackson to win Comeback Player of the Year, and Curtis Granderson, Brandon Inge, Placido Polanco, and Gerald Laird all a solid shot for a Gold Glove, the Tigers have the pieces to win the Central.

Hopefully with an easy schedule and a solid core of players, they can get through the Central Division and make it to the Fall Classic.