Tuesday, July 11, 2006


What Can Derail Tigers?
A Monumental Collapse

(my weekly take on the Tigers)

Last Week: 3-3
This Week: (7/13-16: KC)

The 1978 Boston Red Sox, fritterers away of a sure-bet divisional title. The 1969 Chicago Cubs, leaders well into August, before a black cat crossed their path one evening -- literally -- and another sure bet slipped thru unsteady fingers. The 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, perhaps the most inglorious artisans of gaggery, blowing the surest of bets with less than two weeks remaining. The 1987 Toronto Blue Jays, of course. Handers of the sure bet to our own Tigers.

Only these kinds of collapses -- and there has been precedence, obviously -- can rob the Tigers of their sure bet in 2006. Forget the two-game divisional lead, which is nice. It's the other lead -- the non-traditionalist, progressive baseball gurus are to thank for it -- that makes the Tigers a sure bet. The Wild Card race. The extra, made-for-TV playoff team.

The Tigers hold an eight-game lead for this made up playoff spot. The Yankees, no less, are scuffling along behind them.

An eight-game lead for any playoff spot -- real or extra -- at the All-Star break is supposed to be a sure bet. Of course, it truly isn't. The above mentioned teams had significant leads of their own, but far deeper into the regular season. It was the Yankees, in fact, who fell behind the Red Sox by as many as 14 games -- after the All-Star break.

So only a collapse of monumental proportion can derail the Tigers this season.

Yes, it could slip away, this sure bet. If the starting pitching falters. If there are multiple, catastrophic injuries. If the bats suddenly stop delivering key base hits. If the manager takes leave of his senses.

I submit to you that just about every one of these pitfalls would have to grab the Tigers, if they are to pass this sure bet to someone else.

Now, how this equates to their success in this year's playoff tournament is anyone's guess.

Teams have gagged there, too.


Blogger Ozz said...

The thing about the Tigers is that a lot -- A LOT -- of things have gone right all at once. Even when something has gone wrong, they've overcome it and rebounded nicely.

All the things you mentioned that could lead to a collapse are possible, except one. This manager isn't going to take leave of his senses.

This first half of the season has made me giddy, but it's also freaked me out a little bit.

11:34 PM  

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