It’s been a nice six days for Tigers’ fans. After back to back sweeps over the White Sox and Indians, the Tigers now sit nine games ahead of the second place White Sox and they’re eight ahead in the loss column. With their magic number at 12, the Tigers would need a complete collapse coupled with a hot streak by either Chicago or Cleveland to blow this one. Now they’re looking at a half game deficit with the Texas Rangers for home field in the first round of the playoffs.
So, it’s time to start thinking, if not preparing for the playoffs. With the expanded rosters, you should see a few more days off for some of the regular players and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Tigers stretch out the rotation a little bit. They also need to align things so Justin Verlander gets that game one start. The bad thing is, the Yankees and Red Sox (the likely opponents for the Tigers) are going to be able to do the same thing.
It’ll be interesting to see what Jim Leyland does with the rotation once the playoffs start. I know in 2006 he stuck with a four man rotation for better or worse but I think this year, it’s imperative that Verlander be on the mound as much as possible. While going to three days rest might not be best early on, you have to at least think about if the Tigers get their backs against the walls. Of course best case is, they shorten their series as much as possible so they’re not tempted to try something more radical.
I figure it’ll be Verlander, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister as the front three with Rick Porcello being the fourth guy if needed. Another big thing will be getting Victor Martinez back behind the plate. Alex Avila will probably catch most of the games but you want Martinez ready in the event something happens to Avila.
The Tigers host the Twins this weekend then they hit the road for a week and half. I was hoping to get down for one more game this year but it might be tough because this weekend isn’t an option. It might be the Friday or Saturday game against the Orioles which you would hope by then the Tigers would have wrapped up the division.