The first half of the Tigers season is in the books and the All Star Break is upon us. The Tigers didn’t have a great week leading into the break but they still sit a half game ahead of the Cleveland Indians despite being a loss back because they’ve played three more game then Cleveland. The White Sox had a rough week as well and they’re five back while the Twins have slowly put themselves back into the mix and they sit 6 1/2 games back. At this point, I still don’t think the Indians are what they were in the first half and I don’t think the Twins have enough in the tank to make up the difference so I see the second half being between the Tigers and the White Sox.
One of the reasons for the Tigers success is they have a better record within in the division then any other team. At 18-8, they’ve been able to make up ground especially after their lackluster interleague performance. They’re also getting it done at home once again. Still, they’re on pace for just 86 wins but it’s looking more and more like whichever AL Central team gets to 85 first will probably walk away with the playoff berth.
Of course the big story in the first half is Justin Verlander. His ERA is now down to 2.15 and he leads the league in strikeouts (147), WHIP (0.874) and innings pitched (151). It’s been 20 years since the Tigers had a 20 game winner (Bill Gullickson) and they’ve only had seven in the past 40 years.
It’s also time to eat a little crow. Back in March I posted some predictions and here’s how I’ve done so far.
1) The Tigers are competing for the division. One for the good guys.
2) Brandon Inge is having a career year, it’s just horribly so. Even if Inge has a solid second half it’s going to be hard for him to even hit .250.
3) Ryan Perry has been hurt and mediocre. Another blown call.
4) This one also wasn’t very tough. I predicted Austin Jackson would hit right around .250 and here he is at .245. His walks are up though.
5) I knew I had heard the “whoever 85 first wins the division” line before. I wrote that above before I went back and looked at this.
6) Jacob Turner hasn’t been called up yet but he’s having a solid season for Erie as a 20 year old. Not sure if we’ll see him as a September call up but if the Tigers are in the mix they could use all of the good arms they can get.
7) The Tigers are on pace to win exactly 86 games. Hopefully they come closer to 90 though and break the string of poor season halves they’ve had.
So all in all, not too bad. Blew the Inge and Perry calls, but was at least close on everything else.
I’ll also throw in this in because it’s become an annual tradition but it’s disappointing what the All Star Game has become. When I was a kid, the All Star Game was a big event. Now you have players bowing at left and right and the roster morphs over a weeks time. Of course it was also one of the few times you go to see all of the NL stars out on the field because back then, baseball on television wasn’t as prevalent.