With the All Star game set to start, I thought back to All Star games past to see if I had any distinct memories and realized I have several. I remember betting my mom a nickel on every All Star game as a kid. I took the American League and she took the National League. It was the 1980s, so I lost a lot of nickels. I remember watching the 1981 All Star Game (I had just turned 10) at my Uncle Heinie’s cabin (I want to say it was in Dodge City, MI but I could be wrong). I also remember seeing four Tigers on the field at one time in the 1984 All Star Game. Lou Whitaker, Chet Lemon, Jack Morris and Lance Parrish all played at the same time. And then there was the 1983 All Star game, which was one of the biggest blowouts ever. Fred Lynn hit the first grand slam ever in an All Star game. My all time favorite game was 1987. The game went late into the night and the National League won it 2-0 in 13 innings on a Tim Raines two run triple.
As my son gets older, I hope he’ll enjoy baseball as much as I do and that we’ll have All Star memories of our own.
John Sickels did his mid-year review of his preseason prospect list. Great stuff as always from John, and if you want some awesome prospect coverage, I highly recommend you subscribe to his newletter. One nice thing in his writeup is the top three are all living up to their billing. The bad news is, the Tigers don’t have a ton of depth. You have to go all the way down to Humberto Sanchez to find someone else who’s doing pretty well.
All right, I’ve resisted talking about the Tigers and the playoffs up until now, but it’s the second half. And the first eight days after the All Star break could go a long way towards who ends up in the postseason. The Tigers start out with a four game series against the Royals, which they should win at least three of four. The White Sox then square off against the Yankees, which is almost like a no lose for us. If the White Sox win, then the Yankees get buried and the Tigers build a larger lead for the Wild Card. If the Yankees win, then Tigers cushion in the AL Central should get better assuming the Tigers take care of business against the Royals.
Then right after that, we get a three game series against the White Sox. I’ll be going to the day game on Thursday (and with some White Sox fans) so it should be a good time. If the Tigers can go 5-2 over that seven game stretch, they’ll have a larger cushion whether it’s over the Yankees or the White Sox.
And if you like numbers, according to Baseball Prospectus’ Monte Carlo simulation, the Tigers have a 93.6% chance of making the playoffs. Even the White Sox have a nice chance with 70.9%. Only the Mets have a better chance at 98.7% and the Tigers have the most expected wins at 102.
So at this point, for the Tigers not to make the playoffs, you’d need a pretty heavy duty collapse. Hopefully Jim Leyland can keep things together and here’s to enjoying what’s hopefully as good of a second half.