Detroit Tigers: We're Going Streaking!
Anybody reading this is probably either aware the Tigers are in the midst of a six-game win streak or doesn't have to think about it long to realize it.
Obviously, September is a very good time to start sweeping series and the Tigers' sweeps of the Indians and Rays has me hungering for more. It would be nice, after all, to have as much distance as possible between the Tigers and their pursuers when they meet head-to-head.
Please forgive me then, for thinking about how nice it would be to add another sweep to the 2009 Tigers' resume when I noticed they were now off to Kansas City.
I'm not predicting a sweep by any means. I'm not even really expecting one. I just permitted myself to ponder how nice one would be and this got my mind to thinking about win streaks.
In particular, it made me check something I had heard somewhere. The Tigers have not had a ten-game win streak since 1968.
This struck me as interesting because a sweep of the Royals would put the Tigers at a nine game win streak. They would then be in the position of standing but a victory over Toronto from doing something Detroit fans haven't been able to enjoy since 1968.
Indeed, many of us have never seen our beloved Tigers' win streak hit double digits.
Therefore, I thought it would be fun to take a look at what each of the Tigers' theoretical wins—for jinx avoidance purposes, I'd like to clarify I'm not assuming or predicting wins as a result in these games—would mean in historical context.
A win tonight would put the Tigers at seven games. This really isn't that big of a deal. Since 1968, the Tigers have tallied 13 win streaks of exactly seven games, including two already this year. One interesting thing would be if they won today and lost tomorrow, as that would give them their first season since at least 1968 in which they had three streaks of exactly seven games. Okay, maybe not that interesting.
Something that qualifies as maybe ten percent interesting and ninety percent depressing was the drought of seven game streaks the Tigers recently suffered through.
In 1993, the Tigers won seven straight games from August 21st through August 28th. Do you know the next time they were able to repeat that feat? On May 18th of 2006, they won their seventh straight game for the first time in almost 13 years. Of course, that sickening dry spell was dominated in the general consciousness by the fact that they had also been waiting for a winning season since 1993.
If the Tigers clinch the Royals series tomorrow, that will put them at eight wins and that is a bit more rarefied air, of course. Since 1968, the Tigers have had only six win streaks of exactly eight games. Their last one came in 2007 and they had one the prior year as well.
When they won eight in a row in 2006, though, it was the first time they had won that many games consecutively since 1984. They didn't have any eight-game streaks that year, but they had two that were nine games.
If the Tigers were to get really hungry and actually sweep the Royals, that would put their streak at nine games. This would be their first nine-game win streak since that magical 1984 season (when, as I mentioned, they had two as well as two seven-game streaks) and only their fifth since that 11-game streak in 1968.
Of those five nine-game streaks, the one I found most interesting was in 1975.
That season, the Tigers had a nine-game win streak but finished the season, 57-102. That's a pretty high percentage of their wins concentrated in one hot streak. Of course, they had an even higher percentage of their losses concentrated into a 19-game losing streak.
From there, the Tigers would be staring the Blue Jays and history in the face as they would be looking for their tenth consecutive win on Friday.
Which of these win streak facts do you find most surprising? Is it 41 years without winning ten straight games? Perhaps you're more surprised by their going 13 years without winning a modest seven in a row. Maybe nine is your lucky number and you're appalled that they haven't had a win streak of that length in over 25 years.
Whatever your interest level in win streaks is (or isn't), I think we can all agree we hope whatever the Tigers can muster will be enough to end at least one annoying dry spell. That would be the 22 years we've waited for a division crown. (If you're wondering about the Tigers' longest win streak in that 1987 season, they had two that were six games.)
You may have already guessed this research was made infinitely easier by the fantastic and invaluable website, Baseball-reference.com.
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