Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tigers Will Win Central, But Twins Won't Make It Comfy

They are now, officially, the second-place Minnesota Twins.

Far too early to cue David Bowie's "Panic in Detroit," but the Twins are now sole possessors of second place in the AL Central after taking two of three from the Tigers at Comerica Park. And they keep coming. They're 42-13 in their last 55 games. The Tigers' lead is 8 1/2 games -- still comfortable -- but the Twins, after losing their seventh straight at CoPa Monday night, showed that they're not about to project the Central race and call it for the Tigers.

In 1984, when the Tigers ran roughshod over the American League, fingernails started to get nibbled on if the lead over the Blue Jays "dipped" to anywhere in the 7-9 games range. The Blessed Boys were figured to be "vulnerable" in that instance. Mostly it was shlock created by a bored media.

Such shlock might surface now, the Tigers having -- gasp! -- lost two straight to the Twins. Ignore it.

The Tigers would have to go on one of those 5-15 nightmares to allow anyone to catch them, and with their pitching, that just doesn't appear likely.


If the Tigers face the Twins in, say, the ALCS, they might be in for a tussle. It's amazing, really, how much different the Twins are now than in May, when the Tigers blew them out of Comerica Park. In fact, if you minus Jim Leyland from Manager of the Year contention, you could do worse than select Ron Gardenhire for that honor. The Twins at one point sat at 25-33. Then they consumed jet fuel, and have been rocketing ever since.

The Tigers will win the division. You can count on it. The Twins are just gonna make it a little more uncomfortable for them, that's all. And, Minnesota -- note to selves: don't start 25-33 next time. Then maybe you'll be able to contend for more than the wild card.


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