18 September 2012
For the second straight day the Tigers took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning, and for the second straight day they ended up squandering the lead en route to a one-run loss.
In a micro sense, the two losses were a near-killer for the team’s playoff chances and a huge disappointment. In a more macro view, the team split the four-game series with Chicago and took the three-game series with Cleveland which is nearly all you could expect from a seven game stretch on the road. Either way, it leaves the Tigers three games out with sixteen games to play – not an easy gap to bridge.
The Tigers have a relatively easy schedule ahead – with the caveat that “easy” games down the stretch against teams such as the Royals haven’t been easy for this club to convert into wins in past years – so a 10-6 or 11-5 record isn’t completely out of the question. But even if Detroit was to finish up 11-5 (that’s one loss per remaining series), they would need to hope for an 8-8 record from the White Sox just to force a tie-break game. Needless to say, each loss from here on out will cut significantly into their comeback chances.
The Wildcard is now out of the question. The Tigers are 5.5 games out of the second spot, and even a sweep of Oakland (6.5 games ahead and in the first Wild Card spot) wouldn’t put them within immediate striking distance (unless Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and Los Angeles – to some extent – all begin collapsing at the same time).
In reality, the Tigers only hope at this point is to sweep a series or three and hope the White Sox stumble in some of their more difficult matchups (they still have a series each remaining with Los Angeles and Tampa Bay). It’s not time to bury them yet, but the end may indeed be nigh.
Matt Snyder writes about Baseball, Football, and College Basketball. He can be found online as the creator and editor of Forever Faithful, the editor of The Tigers Den, a contributor to Call To The Pen, and a contributor to SideLion Report. He can be reached on Twitter @snyder_matthew.