The Detroit Tigers are looking red hot after sweeping the Chicago White Sox in a three-game series this past weekend. The sweep brings the Tigers into first place in the American League Central by 1.5 games with a record of 52-44. In the month of July alone, the Tigers have a record of 14-4, scored 100 runs while allowing 70, hit an average of .288, and have an OBP of .356.
However well the Tigers have played in the last month, can they stay atop of the American League Central?
Yes, here is why.
First, as stated during the Fox Sports Detroit game on Sunday, July 22, the Tigers will have the easiest schedule for the rest of the year in the American League. Their upcoming opponents have a win percentage of .497, with 32 home games and 34 road games remaining, and a 62.7 percent chance of reaching the playoffs.
Second, the Tigers’ lineup is becoming pretty solid in this order: Austin Jackson, Quintin Berry, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Delmon Young, Brennan Boesch, Jhonny Peralta, Alex Avila, and Ramon Santiago. A few observations with this order are with Berry and Boesch. Jim Leyland must make Berry a full-time starter because he has shown he can hit under pressure and add steal bases — he is 14-14 this year. I have watched Berry hit in many game, and he struggles against left-handed pitching, tends to strike out regularly, and hits in streaks; however, he has hit well under pressure, as was seen from the win in the 8-6 13 inning loss against Baltimore Orioles. In addition, I am sure with advice from Cabrera and Fielder he will continue to grow. With Boesch, he was sluggish earlier in the year at the second spot, but in the past 14 games, he has hit .388, 6 doubles, 4 HR and 14 RBI’s. In my opinion, the lineup should stay as it is because the Tigers are winning games.
Third, the Tigers must make rely on the current pitching roster. In looking around the league, there are only a few notable pitchers on the trading block like Ryan Dempster, but with the addition of another wildcard spot this year, not many teams want to improve the Tigers pretty decent pitching rotation. With the left-hander Drew Smyly coming back off the 15-day disabled list soon, Smyly should find his rhythm again at the fifth starting pitching spot. Before his injury, Smyly was 4-3, had a WHIP of 1.43, an ERA of 4.42, and 75 Strike Outs. In his last start on July 5, Smyly had 10 SO, gave up 2 ER, threw 106 pitches and got the win (4-3).
With these three factors in the Tigers favor, they should win the AL Central.
Leave your thoughts below if you have better ideas.