By a lot of weird fate coming together at the same time, the Tigers find their chances at making the playoffs looking up. In no particular order, consider----
The standings, of course. The Cleveland Indians sewed up the AL Central division title on Monday night by downing the Tigers -- again -- on Detroit's home field. The Tribe was partying. However, it was no big secret Detroit wasn't going to catch Cleveland anyway.
But the wild card race is where the Tigers caught several major breaks. With Toronto, Baltimore, Seattle, and Houston all still in the hunt, and only six games remaining, every game was crucial.
As the schedule worked out, Toronto had to play a series with Baltimore. The Jays had all but locked up one of the wild cards (three games ahead of Detroit), so it would be advantageous if Toronto knocked off Baltimore (two games ahead of Detroit). They did in the first game.
Meanwhile, in Game two of the Cleveland/Detroit series, the Indians played their B team. They cobbled together a line-up of whoever had semi-sobered up from the night before. And the Tigers had their horse, Justin Verlander pitching. Detroit clobbered the Indians. Coupled with the Baltimore loss, Detroit edged a game closer.
Out west, the two teams (Seattle and Houston) also had to play a series against each other. Somebody has to lose those games. If Detroit can win, they're gaining ground on somebody. The Mariners were only one game back of Detroit, and the Astros two. While they don't quite completely control their own destiny, the match-ups mentioned above are certainly playing out in their favor. I mean, what are the chances that the other four teams Detroit is vying with for a wild card spot would all be playing each other with a week to go in the regular season? Of course, if the Tigers lose in the meantime, they have nobody to blame but themselves.
Further, after finishing up with Cleveland on Thursday, the Tigers finish the regular campaign with a three game set against the Atlanta Braves -- the worst team in the entire National League. The Braves have absolutely nothing to play for and probably can't wait to finally get this miserable season over.
Put it all together, and the Tigers couldn't have asked for a better scenario. The perfect storm.
And who knows, if they make the playoffs, anything can happen and sometimes does. The best teams throughout the regular season don't always prevail in the post season -- though it's difficult to imagine anybody knocking off the Chicago Cubs. They're the only team in all of the Major Leagues that will win over 100 games this year. The rest have already been mathematically eliminated.
It's right there for the Tigers. Everything has fallen their way with the other contending teams beating each other up as the season winds down.
Now all they have to do is win.
We'll all know Sunday night......