The Detroit Tigers have just defeated the Minnesota Twins 1-0 at Target Field to clinch their third consecutive AL Central Division title.
It is also the first time the Tigers have reached the post-season in three consecutive seasons since they won three consecutive AL pennants between 1907 and 1909. However, they lost three consecutive World Series – two of them to the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs, of course, have not won a World Series since.
Fast forwarding to more contemporary times, the Tigers are the defending AL champions. Of course, they were swept in four games by the San Francisco Giants.
The Tigers were heavily favored to win the division, but they didn’t run away with it. Both the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals made the division far more interesting than expected. Well, more interesting than most expected. I picked both the Tribe and the Royals to win the two AL Wild Card spots. While the Royals will fall short, the Indians are on the verge going to the post-season for the first time since 2007.
Detroit might be bankrupt, but the Tigers are very much in the black. Look for Miguel Cabrera to win his second consecutive AL MVP. A healthy Victor Martinez and the addition of Torii Hunter augmented the power combination of Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Max Scherzer supplanted Justin Verlander as the ace of the staff with 21 wins and a probable AL Cy Young Award. Scherzer, Verlander, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello arguably have the deepest rotation in the AL. It took awhile for the Tigers to find a closer, but Joaquin Benoit has settled nicely into the job.
All that is left to determine in the AL are the two Wild Card spots. As I mentioned, the Indians appear to be headed to the post-season along with the Tampa Bay Rays. However, after struggling most of September, the Texas Rangers have won three in a row and are a game back of Cleveland. A lot can happen in four days.
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