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Well first and foremost, they’re not the New York Yankees. That right there is reason enough for any and all Yankee haters to cheer on the Detroit Tigers. For baseball fans, your favorite team is your home team (or whichever one you follow/care about) and any team who beats the Evil Empire. So, by default, the Tigers should garner a following for the casual observer.
However, the Tigers are not a franchise of underdog young pups. A great team in their own right, Detroit dominated the American League Central, winning the division crown by 15 games. So it’s not as though they’re a bunch of impostors who do not belong in the playoffs or are making a magically surprising postseason run.
On offense, Detroit has been a steady if not overpowering force, ranked third in the American League in batting average and fourth in runs scored and OPS. Led by American League batting crown champion Miguel Cabrera and catcher Victor Martinez, who placed fourth in AL in hitting, the Tigers consistently pushed their offense, and were in fact shut out in only five games all season.
The pitching was spectacular, too, riding the dominating coattails of ace starter Justin Verlander. The right-hander notched 24 wins, steering a pitching rotation that led the American League in shutouts. Of course, the bullpen rounded out the well-rounded team, producing a league-best 52 saves on the season, led by closer Jose Valverde.
An all-around powerful team of their own, Detroit should be applauded for their great ensemble and will be looked at as legit contenders to win the title. Currently, they are locked at two games apiece in the ALDS against New York. But whatever the numbers, whoever the players are, for many baseball fans, as long as it’s not the Yankees, then go Tigers!