Friday, September 14, 2007

Tigers' Slide Started After Last Minnesota Trip

The last time the Tigers were in Minnesota, they had just wrapped up a three-game sweep, all victories by one run. They were 57-36, about a week or so after the All-Star break. Most everyone had them back into the playoffs. Barring anything unusual, like injuries and team-wide slumps. You know, things of that nature.

Well, here the Tigers are, back in Minnesota, some 54 games later -- one-third of a season. And they are no longer favorites to make the playoffs; not even close. And much of that can be blamed on injuries and team-wide slumps -- things of that nature.

Just after the Tigers returned home from Minny, Gary Sheffield got hurt, making a rare appearance in the outfield. Then Kenny Rogers got hurt again. Then, the starting rotation, supposedly a strong suit, began tearing away at the edges. Sheffield came back, got hurt again. The hitters couldn't buy a clutch hit to save their souls. Only now are the Tigers starting to come out of it, and it's probably too late. They're 7-2 in their last nine, but that only makes them 23-31 since their last Minnesota visit. One-third of a season, playing 69-93-type ball. No wonder they're on the outside looking in, when it comes to the playoffs.

I call it the Curse of the Twins. Those pesky, frustrating Twins, with their abhorrent excuse for a baseball stadium. It's almost like the Curse said, "OK, you swept the Twins -- FINALLY -- in Minnesota. Well, now you're gonna PAY." Sheffield, in fact, got hurt in the very next game.

Oh, where would the Tigers be with a healthy Sheffield for 162 games and a healthy Rogers and a healthy Joel Zumaya? Where would they be with more consistency from their pitching staff? Where would they be with some more hitting with RISP?

Most likely not where they are now, struggling to keep afloat in the American League whirlpool.

Those Twins -- they can get ya, even from the graveyard.


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