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Written by Brian Buckey | 20 July 2012

Comerica_PictureThese are the Tigers that most experts said would win the AL Central. After taking three out of four games against the Los Angeles Angels, the Tigers now sit just 1.5 games behind the first place White Sox. Detroit hosts Chicago for a three game series over the weekend. If the Tigers take two out of three they will be just 0.5 games back and with a sweep they can take over the division lead. The Tigers, winners of 10 of their last 12 games, won five straight games prior to the All Star break and continued their strong play with five wins in seven games after the break.

Against the Angels, the Tigers offense was good, with the exception of the 13-0 loss in the second game. They scored at least five runs in all three of their wins. Prince Fielder had a good series, with six hits and three RBI. Brennan Boesch added four RBI on three extra-base hits. The Tigers are starting to get contributions from the bottom part of their lineup with Delmon Young, Boesch, Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila all hitting much better than earlier in the year. The top of the lineup has been pretty consistent for most of the year.

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Written by Matt Snyder | 19 July 2012

PrinceFielderHRDHe hasn’t hit a home run since the All-Star break, but we’re six games into the season’s second-half and Prince Fielder shows no ill-effects of participating in (and winning) the Home Run Derby. So far he’s hitting for a slash line of .391/.500/.435 in the second half. It’s a small sample size, surely, but if it was the Derby that was going to be the culprit for a post-break numbers downturn, it would show up in the stat line right away, wouldn’t it?

It’s pretty much been shown that the derby doesn’t affect a players second-half production, but we’re still burdened with writers pointing to anecdotes of players seeing a second-half numbers dip.

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Written by Brian Buckey | 16 July 2012

Brennan_Boesch_photoThe Tigers opened a crucial home stand with a thrilling 8-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. The win, coupled with a White Sox loss, moves the Tigers 2.5 games behind in the AL Central. Detroit has three games remaining with the Angels before they host the White Sox for three games over the weekend.

Brennan Boesch provided a dramatic go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning giving the Tigers a 7-5 lead. Angels’ outfielder Mark Trumbo crushed a solo home run off Joaquin Benoit to cut the Detroit lead in half. But Quentin Berry knocked in Alex Avila with a single into center field and the Tigers led 8-6 going into the ninth.

Jose Valverde came in the game for the top of the ninth inning. After retiring the first two batters, Torii Hunter dropped down a surprising bunt single. That brought Albert Pujols to the plate as the tying run. Valverde forced a fly out to center field to earn his 17th save of the year.

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Written by Matt Snyder | 16 July 2012

JustinUptonDetroit Tigers trade rumors have recently been centering around Justin Upton of the Arizona Diamondbacks, but the thought was that he would be able to veto a move to Detroit if the clubs were able to agree on a trade. Detroit, along with Cleveland, Kansas City and Oakland, was on his no-trade list when he signed his current deal before the 2010 season.

There had been talk that the list had since changed, with ESPN’s Buster Olney reporting last week that the New York Yankees were on the new list. The other three teams remained unknown.

But now Fox Sports is reporting the full list:

Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton can block trades to four teams, major league sources told FOXSports.com: the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs.
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Written by Matt Snyder | 16 July 2012

ComericaParkNightThe Detroit Tigers find themselves only a half game out of the playoff picture after completing the series win over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday. The Tigers have been playing excellent baseball for over a month now, they’ve won 20 of their last 31 games going back to June 9, but the stretch has only served to dig them out of the hole, not separate them from the rest of the league.

Here’s the current American League playoff picture:

AL East: New York (54-34)

AL Central: Chicago White Sox (49-39)

AL West: Texas (54-35)

AL Wildcard: Los Angeles Angels (49-40)

AL Wildcard: Baltimore (46-42)

The Yankees have a firm grasp on the East with an eight game lead over second place Baltimore, and Texas has been sitting comfortably for most of the year in the West, although the Angels have been playing very well lately (Texas is currently five games up). The AL Central is the closest division with the Tigers just 3.5 games behind the White Sox.

I think it’s fairly safe to say that both the Yankees and Rangers will be playing in the postseason, but beyond that there’s a lot still up in the air, especially when it comes down to the (new) second Wild Card spot.

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Written by Matt Snyder | 15 July 2012

According to the Detroit Free Press, Andy Dirks will be evaluated when the team returns home on Monday in the hopes that he could begin his return to baseball this week.

I’m just speculating here, but with the Toledo Mud Hens being on the road until Friday, Dirks could see a couple of games in West Michigan (who return home to Comstock Park on Wednesday) if he is indeed ready to play right away. (West Michigan and Toledo typically get the bulk of the Tigers’ rehab assignments due to their proximity to Detroit.)

There’s no word yet on how long Dirks’ rehab assignment would be, but the Tigers would be faced with a (somewhat) difficult roster decision once he returns to the big club. There are probably three candidates to be ousted upon his arrival.

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Written by Matt Snyder | 13 July 2012

According to Matthew Mowery of the Oakland Press, Darin Downs remains with the team and has not been sent to the minor leagues.

The Detroit Tigers official website has been showing all day that Darin Downs had been assigned to the Toledo Mud Hens (he has also been removed from the active and 40-man rosters on the website), but apparently this is an erroneous piece of information.

If Downs is in fact still with the team, then the roster is set for now. The club officially announced that Danny Worth had been recalled earlier today.

[UPDATE:] The Tigers official website has removed the erroneous transaction and added Downs back to both the 40-man and 25-man rosters.

Matt Snyder is the editor of The Tigers Den. He can be reached on Twitter @snyder_matthew.

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