There’s a rumbling in Detroit. A breathy, tremulous, deep-throated sound.
It’s fueled by the fan’s imagination and the media’s pen, but it’s coming from the stadium where a mighty tiger once dwelled. And it’s starting to grow louder, and more threatening, into a perceivable growl.
According to the locals, a fearsome cat is living there once again, consuming all who dare enter, distributing brooms out of town.
A Tiger in a den of glass and steel and mortar.
The Cats have taken a long nap, tuckered out by expectations, adjustments, injuries, and disappointment.
Their heavy breathing was perceivable throughout the city, interrupted by the occasional purr, but Detroit seems to be waking up, and their rude treatment of the Division-leading White Sox and then the Dodgers in back-to-back sweeps may serve notice that they’ll be roaring soon.
Take your place at Pride Rock, Simba, and fulfill the circle of life!
Early in the season, while the Tigers were struggling, I wrote an article addressing their problems. In a nutshell, I concluded that the Tigers lack of hitting would eventually turn around because these guys were just too good, but wasn’t sure that there were many quick answers with the pitching.
Even then, I had counted out Dontrelle Willis (even though I like the D-train) because his struggles seemed to be so fundamental. I wasn’t sure that Bonderman was fixable either, and indeed it appears that he was not.
I was pretty certain that Verlander would regain form, as he seems to have, but the wild cards were Nate Robertson, Kenny Rogers, and the virtually unknown Armando Galarraga.
Nate has always been serviceable to very good for Detroit, and it seems that he has started to regain his control. Kenny Rogers, I feared, was getting too old, but his last four starts have been excellent, and his command on his slider is once again flawless.
Man, this guy may have literally saved the entire Detroit season. He’s been pitching like the Tigers' ace, and how big are his six wins and 3.31 ERA now that the Tigers are only six games back?
Key contributors such as Placido Polanco, Curtis Granderson, Miguel Cabrera, and Carlos Guillen all seem to be breaking out of their hitting woes, and the bullpen will soon be bolstered by the addition of Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney, both coming off the DL within the next week or so.
If the D-train can just pull it together a little…
I will admit that it’s fortunate that the Tigers are situated in the AL central, but that said, they are very well-positioned for a playoff run. In the past two years, Detroit has started out on fire only to stumble down the stretch.
As I mentioned in my earlier article, baseball’s a looooooooooooooooong haul, and it’s better to start weak and finish strong than the other way around.
What’s that sound? It’s the Tigers, and they're positioned and ready to make some noise.