Make no mistake—with four weeks left in the season, anything can happen in the Central Division. But in yesterday’s game at Comerica Park between the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox, Detroit served notice.
For those who gave up on the Tigers for a college football game when they fell behind 8-1, you missed a helluva comeback.
The Tigers had every right to give up on this game. And maybe a season ago they’d have done just that, conceding the loss in the hopes of winning Game 3 on Sunday night and taking two of three, having won Friday night in decisive fashion.
By luck of the draw, Brad Penny started for the home team. Penny admits to preferring to pitch at night. I guess he’s just not an afternoon guy.
Penny was hit early and often. But when Leyland finally pulled him, the bullpen worked their magic, holding the Sox and giving the Tigers offense a chance to put some runs on the board.
And they did. A run here, two there, until when the rains came, they were within striking distance.
After the delay the Tigers headed into their final frame trailing by two runs. That was when Ryan Raburn played long ball with a runner aboard, and suddenly the game was tied.
After Delmon Young struck out, the Sox were one out away from extra innings.
But they had to get out Miguel Cabrera before they could get another chance in the 10th.
I had an exchange some time ago with someone who claimed that the White Sox don’t fear Cabrera. Other teams pitch around him, but not the Sox, he proclaimed.
Well, Cabrera was sitting on a first-pitch curve ball and got it. All he did was deposit it into the left field seats, beyond the bullpen. Game over.
And while the Tigers bench celebrated at home plate, the White Sox players looked on in stunned disbelief; what had, a few minutes previously, been a five-and-a-half game deficit in the Central was now seven-and-a-half.
Granted, a month is left in the season and the Detroit team still has four more games with the White Sox and six against the Indians, so a lot can happen. To use the cliché, it ain’t over til it’s over.
But yesterday afternoon, this Tigers team thumped its chest, flexed its muscles, sharpened its claws and served notice to not only the White Sox and the Indians, but also the leaders in the other two divisions. This Tigers team is something with which to be reckoned.
I’m showing my age, but suddenly this first weekend in September feels like the '80s:
Bless you, boys!