The Tigers made their mark on the playoff race by playing a great first half before getting pummelled in the second half of their final game of the season against the White Sox. Freddy Garcia looked sharp but when he came out, the wheels fell off the wagon and the end result was a 8-2 loss in the Tigers final game of the season.
Example number 101 of why win/loss record is a tough statistic to take seriously was Armando Galarraga today. He came in mid-count to Jermaine Dye and with a runner on second. He gave up two wild pitches that scored the tying run at 2-2 and Dye walked on the final wild pitch. That was the only batter he faced and because Dye scored on the Alexi Ramirez slam, he falls to 13-7 because that was the go ahead run.
With the loss, the Tigers finished 74-88. While the season was a disaster, I’m taking one good thing out of it and that’s the perception of Tiger fans. It wasn’t that long ago that the Tigers were a joke and 74-88 third best record had it occured between 1995 and 2005 and the fact that we’re outraged about is positive. Since 2006, the Tigers have been viewed as winner and while they had the hiccup today, there’s little doubt that the Tigers should be back in the mix as early as next year.
Miguel Cabrera finished the season with 37 homeruns and unless some goes nuts tomorrow, he’ll be your homerun champ. Gary Sheffield finished the season with 499 and it’ll be interesting to see when/if/where he belts number 500. One thing for sure is the Tigers have some decisions to make this offseason. Short, leftfield and catcher are all holes and that’s assuming Carlos Guillen comes back strong next year. Right now, I wouldn’t be bummed to see Ramon Santiago get that shortstop start but it looks like the Tigers might look elsewhere. The pitching as a whole is one huge question mark so it’s hard to even begin discussing it.
Chuck Hernandez and Jeff Jones got their walking papers so a big part of the offseason will be looking for a new pitching coach. I don’t know if he has a relationship with Jim Leyland, but Leo Mazzone is out there. I’d almost like to see the Tigers spend their money on him then a blue chip outfielder.
There’s no television coverage for the White Sox/Twins game, at least as I’m writing this so it’ll be Wednesday when I’ll get my taste of playoff baseball. It’s not as fun without the Tigers, but I’ll make the best of it.