Tigers 2011 Season Has Familiar Feel To It
Where have we seen THIS before?
Tigers get hot in June and move into first place, a position they hold until the All-Star break. Stars begin to emerge; Justin Verlander strikes everyone out. The team cleans up in interleague play.
This is a rerun.
Trouble is, we all know how the story ends up---with feats of daring do that cede the division to someone else, usually the Minnesota Twins.
It won't be the Twins this season, so there's some drama. Will it be the White Sox? The (gasp!) Indians?
I'm telling myself not to get sucked in. You know the saying: Fool me once, etc.
The Tigers are rolling. They're 13-5 in their last 18 games and are avoiding the roller coaster feel of April and May, when winning streaks were canceled by losing streaks of the same length or longer.
They've moved to seven games above .500 and are alone in first place, natch.
Time to put the trays in their upright positions and strap yourself in---it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Color me wary.
It's still my steadfast belief that the Tigers cannot consider themselves serious contenders---whether it's against the Chisox or the Tribe---until they get second base figured out and/or they identify one more consistent bat in the lineup.
I'm also sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop when it comes to Jhonny Peralta and, to a degree, Alex Avila.
Color me unwilling to get fooled again.
The Tigers, despite their warts, are in a position to make a run, but with holes at 2B, 3B and maybe RF, offensively, their run at first place doesn't seem to be sustainable.
The bullpen is still too dicey for my liking, with the exception of Jose Valverde. I worry that hitters will figure out Al Alburquerque, other than how to spell his last name.
Color me thrice bitten, four times shy.
The Tigers blew playoff appearances in 2007, 2009 and even 2010 with lousy second halves. In each season, they pulled what they're pulling now---a strong June that leads to a promising beginning to July, that collapses into a heap in August and September.
The only drama has been, when will the freefall begin? In 2007 it was in August. In 2009 it was in the final two weeks. Last year, it was right out of the All-Star break.
And don't forget the 19-31 finish that almost ruined their excellent 2006 start.
In fact, just writing about this gives me deja vu most vile.
Yet despite the familiarity of this show, I'm still tuning in.
Color me a sucker?