Not that long ago the Tigers lost two games to the Chicago White Sox on the same day. They fell 7 1/2 games behind the division leading Cleveland Indians (8 in the loss column). As they bumbled along at about .500 the Tigers were also several games out of a possible wild card berth.
Many, including yours truly, thought -- well, that's about it for the Motowners this season. No way are they going to make the playoffs. Not good enough.
They haven't lost a game since having reeled off 8 in a row.
Meanwhile, they've got a lot of help from other teams. The Indians thrashed about and lost a few games to allow the Tigers to close to within a couple games of the division lead. In the wild card race, things have tightened up considerably. The Boston Red Sox have been slumping and the Toronto Blue Jays have fallen back in the East. Same with the Houston Astros in the West. Besides being right back in the chase for their own Central Division lead, they're neck and neck with the above teams for a wild card spot.
This author, along with many others, was wrong in prematurely writing off the Tigers. These days they look as good as anybody and better than most. They've not only got a shot at the post-season, but a really good one. Of course, that's assuming they don't go into a tailspin themselves. Or key injuries pop up to bite them. You never know.
Manager Brad Ausmus, on the lame duck year of his contract, was once thought to be a goner after this season for sure. Maybe not any more. If the Tigers reach the post-season and make some noise once they get there, it would be difficult for their front office/ownership to cut Ausmus loose. Besides, who would take his place? And would it even matter? After all, the players have to play the games. If they play well, they win. If not, they lose. Pretty simple. In the last week and a half the Tigers have shown they have enough talent. But again, baseball can be a funny game. Even good teams can fall into a slump for various reasons. Bats go cold. Pitchers get rocked. Hard hit balls are caught. Opposing teams play well against them and/or catch a few breaks. Lady Luck can be fickle.
With roughly two months left in the regular season, it's become a crap shoot. The Tigers could continue playing well and rise to the top, or just as easily slip-slide away back into no-man's land.
Nope, ya never know with baseball how things are going to play out. But for the time being, the Tigers have not only regained some respect, but their self-confidence has to be flying high as well -- always a good thing.
Further, the Tigers pretty much sat on their hands as the trade deadline came and went. For whatever reasons they opted not to make a big splash in trying to obtain help for a "stretch" run. It appears their strategy of staying with what they had is working out well.
It will be interesting to see how things play out indeed.
Nope, ya just never know. As they say, that's why they play the games......