Win or Lose, Detroit Tigers Are Who We Thought They Are

Zac SnyderContributor ISeptember 30, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 26:  Adam Everett #4 of the Detroit Tigers is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on August 26, 2009 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Tigers 4-2.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The Detroit Tigers are far from a perfect team.

Despite holding a division lead since May 10, the Tigers have failed to pull away from the mediocre pack.

The Tigers took a seven game division lead and Tigers fans started doing the math to determine what kind of a ridiculous streak the Twins would have to get on if the Tigers just managed to play .500 ball.

Unfortunately, Detroit went 8-11 between the sweep of the Rays and the beginning of this last home stand. The Twins went 13-6, even in the midst of losing perennial MVP candidate Justin Morneau for the season.

Suddenly the math wasn't as simple and the division race was anything but over.

That brings us to Tuesday. In many ways, the series opening doubleheader perfectly summed up the 2009 Tigers.

Familiar problems haunted the Tigers throughout the day. Horrible images from earlier in the season flashed before the eyes of Tigers fans everywhere.

The inability to drive in runners in scoring position, particularly from third base with less than two outs, brought back memories of the 1-for-26 effort with runners in scoring position in New York.

Rick Porcello pitched six solid innings only to lack the kind of run support that supplants such a pitching performance into franchise lore.

How many times has Edwin Jackson been denied the run support to add a couple extra wins to his record? How often has Justin Verlander's margin for error been one or two runs? Do you remember back to back 2-1 home loses to the Mariners in July?

The nightcap got off to a promising start with the Tigers taking a 5-0 lead and Verlander cruising through the Minnesota line-up. Instead of building on that success, the Tigers allowed the Twins to score the next four runs to turn a comfortable lead into a nail biter. Sounds a little bit like the month of September as a whole.

Curtis Granderson's eighth inning home run to increase the lead back to two proved timely. Misplayed balls by Placido Polanco and Granderson in the top of the ninth essentially forced Fernando Rodney to get five outs to record his 36th save in 37 chances.

Just like on July 24, the Tigers were able to fight off a challenge to their division lead in a doubleheader.

Time and time again, the Detroit Tigers have failed to make things easy on themselves. They might end up winning the division and they might end up losing it. Either way, they will do it the same way they have all season long.

The Tigers are who we thought they are. Let's just hope the Minnesota Twins let them off the hook.


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