We’re not going to mention the “P-word” here in the Detroit Tigers Newsletter.
You mean, “playof…?”
No! Not yet.
What about “postseas…?”
No, come on, not that one either.
Well, what if we don’t start with “P”? How ‘bout “Octob…?”
No. Nuh-uh. Not the “O-word” either. Not in August, which it still is for one more day. (Unless you’re reading this on Tuesday, in which case, you should check your email more often, not-so-faithful reader.)
And really, not in September, not for a week or so. A lot can happen with 28 games remaining, y’know? The Tigers could get scorching hot, like they did in 2011, surging to a 22-6 record and the AL Central title. (They’re not doing that this year, though.) Or they could crater like they did in 2019, going 8-20 to lock up the No. 1 overall pick. (They’re not doing that, either.)
So what word can we use this week, since you ruled out all the fun ones?
How about … hope?
Getting to the final month of the season at .500, even if it’s just a 16-16 record with a minus-21 run differential that suggests the Tigers should be closer to the No. 1 pick than the final spot in the play… whoops, almost fell for that… Anyway, the Tigers are in contention, and that’s a reason to hope for the future, whether it’s this season or next, especially if they can get through the season’s final big holiday …
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The Tigers have won three straight series and seven of their past nine games! BUY BUY BUY!
No, wait, the Tigers already had a nine-game losing streak and are just hitting the hard part of their schedule! SELL SELL SELL?
So what should Al Avila and the Tigers do today before 4 p.m. (give or take a few fax-related delays, eh, Mr. Verlander)? Well, the Freep’s Evan Petzold talked over the weekend with Avila, who confirmed: “We’ll keep trying to win.” Bold words from the guy ostensibly paid to start doing that one of these days.
Avila certainly didn’t sound like a man with farm-system talent burning a hole in his pocket, unlike his striped polo-wearing predecessor, but the Tigers could still make some moves at the deadline. Click here to find out the most likely candidates.
One guy not going anywhere: Miguel Cabrera. The 37-year-old joined an exclusive club Sunday, becoming the eighth player with 2,000 hits as a Tiger, when he singled off Kenta Maeda in the first inning. The Twins starter is one of 1,046 pitchers to allow a hit to Cabrera since he joined the franchise in 2008. Cabrera joins Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, Charlie Gehringer, Harry Heilmann, Sam Crawford, Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell, which is pretty much a who’s who of Detroit hitting greats. Click here to find out how each of them joined the franchise’s elite.
Another guy not going anywhere? Tarik Skubal. The 23-year-old picked up his first career win with a solid six-inning outing in the back end of Saturday’s doubleheader. His reward: A beer shower. Our Man Petzold has the scoop here on what Skubal did differently in his third start to earn that hoppy deluge.
Well, we don’t think they’re getting beer showers down in Toledo – Riley Greene still isn’t old enough to drink, last we checked – but they are starting to feel the hope down at the Tigers’ “alternate training site,” as the Freep’s Jeff Seidel discovered in a chat with minor-league home run king Mike Hessman.
Of course, navigating that jump from Toledo to the majors – in 2020 or a normal season – requires a lot of help from the coaching staff, and no coach in the Tigers organization is more in the spotlight than pitching coach Rick Anderson. Our Man Petzold checked in with his students – young and old – to see how they feel about his work so far (for subscribers only).
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Let’s scroll through this week’s reruns:
[ Monday: “The One in Which Casey Mize Learned A Valuable Lesson (And Got A H…