The Cardinals are a pretty good team, even when they’re beat up. Albert Pujols made his return and the knock on the Tigers has been that they’ve only played well against the bad teams. Hopefully the Tigers dispelled that myth here this weekend with a sweep at home over the Cardinals.
The Cardinals and the Tigers have quite a past and two of the Tigers nine World Series appearances were against the Cardinals. In 1934, probably the greatest Tiger team of all time lost an exciting seven game series to the Gas House Gang. And then in 1968, the Tigers beat the Cardinals in another exciting seven game series and became one of the few teams to ever come from behind from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series.
Curtis Granderson had an excellent series against the Cardinals this weekend. He had seven hits and he scored six runs in the three games against the Redbirds and he even hit a homerun and stole a base. We’re not even at the midpoint season and he has 51 runs and he’s now hovering just under the .300 mark with a .296 batting average. He’s also doing his job at the leadoff spot and he’s seventh in the American League with 4.2 pitches per plate appearance and the guys in front of him are some pretty big names (Jason Giambi and Manny Ramirez are two of them). He could have somewhat of a decline in the second half because he might not be able to keep up his .387 batting average on balls in play but even if he tapers off, he should put up some pretty nice numbers in his first full season.
What a game on Saturday. Marcus Thames came in and hit a two run homerun in the bottom of the ninth off of Jason Isringhausen to tie the game up. Thames didn’t drive in the winning run, but it was that blast that put the Tigers in a position to win that game. Thames now has 15 homeruns in 165 at bats and his slugging percentage is .661. He has 28 extra base hits and the team leader, Granderson, has 32. And that’s in a little more then half of the at bats.
I didn’t confirm this, but I heard on the radio that only two previous Tiger teams have had at least 50 wins at the 75 game mark. The one time was 1984 when the Tigers won their last World Series. The other time was 1911, who were 51-24 at the 75 game mark. The 1911 team really collapsed shortly after that. Their high point was 59-24 when they were 5 1/2 games in first place on July 18, 1911. After that point they went 30-41 and finished in second place, 13 1/2 games out of first place. 1911 is also what was probably Ty Cobb’s best season. He hit .420 that year, his career best and the eighth best single season average of all time.
Next up is the Astros, who are playing right now against the White Sox. And speaking of the Sox, they’re still red hot. If they can pull this game out (they’re down 2-1), they’ll have won their tenth straight game. Tuesday’s matchup is probably the most interesting because it’ll be Roger Clemens second start since coming back for the Astros.
Speaking of milestones, this the 1,000 post at Tigerblog. Most were written by me, but a few others made did their share as well. It took me over three years to get here so post 2,000 will probably happen sometime in 2010.