Thursday, September 29, 2011
1. Justin Verlander. The dude will win the Cy Young in the American League, and should win the MVP, too. He was the best pitcher in baseball all year long. He was consistently great, and is putting it all together in a serious way right now. He could pitch 2 games in a 5 game series, or 3 in a 7 game series. You've got to like those odds.
2. Miguel Cabrera. He won the batting title in the American League this year, and also had the highest batting average in all of baseball. Like Verlander, he is consistently great. He's posted nearly identical numbers for the past 5 years. He never seems to slump. And he's on fire right now, hitting 4 home runs in the last week of the season.
3. September. The Tigers went 20-6 over the season's final month. Now that's storming into the playoffs!
4. 16-5. That's the Tigers' record against the other 3 American League playoff teams (NYY, TB, TEX). Sure, that was the regular season. But success breeds confidence, and the Tigers' have dominated the other three playoff teams.
5. Doug Fister. As good as Verlander was this year, Doug Fister was even better down the stretch. He went 9-1 with the Tigers, and had an ERA under 1 over his past 7 starts! That's a rock solid 1-2 punch at the top of your starting rotation!
6. The Lineup. Alex Avila. Jhonny Peralta. Delmon Young. Victor Martinez. Austin Jackson. Even with the loss of Brennan Boesch, this lineup has been mashing. They're balanced. They're confident. And they're ready for the big stage.
7. Opportunity. While the other teams have been fighting their way into the postseason, the Tigers' punched their way into the playoffs by running off 12 straight wins in early September, 9 of which were against the teams directly behind them in the standings. They're the one team that grabbed their playoff opportunity by the throat and pinned it to the ground. They're playing their best baseball right now.
I hope this is our year. The last time the Tigers won the World Series, I was 5 years old. My oldest son is 5 this year. Coincidence? Yes. But there's a lot to like about this team. Let's go Tigers!