Let’s not sugar coat this. The next four days are very important for the Cleveland Indians and whatever aspirations they have for making the postseason. Trailing the Detroit Tigers by three games, they get a chance to make up all of that ground and then some as the Motor City Kitties make their way to Progressive Field for a four game series that is sure to be high on drama.
Of course, by saying these four games will be high on drama assumes that the Indians will actually make these games competitive and may actually win a couple of them. Easier sad than done. So far in 2013, the Tigers are an absurd 9-3 against the Indians so far in 2013 and for the most part the games haven’t even been close. In twelve games, the Tigers have outscored the Indians by a score of 78 to 48. Yes, you read that right. The Tigers have plated 78 runs against the Indians and outscored them by 30.
I’ll give you a minute to wrap your mind around that.
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Ok, now that you’ve all decided to pull your heads out of the oven it’s time to get down to business.
The Tigers are on a roll right now. They have won eight straight games and 12 of their last 13. The cause of that success has undoubtedly been their pitching. Over that stretch, the Tigers have allowed two or fewer runs an astonishing 10 times. Combine that pitching performance with the caliber of offense the Tigers can trot out on a daily basis and you begin to understand just how and why the Tigers are getting theses types of results right now.
Speaking of the Tiger’s offense, they are undoubtedly one of, if not the best offense in all of baseball. They are second in runs scored, first in batting and on base average, and third in slugging. There’s not much they don’t do well offensively. Of course, it also helps when you have a lineup that includes Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez, and Jhonny Peralta, among other. They get the job done and smack the ball around the yard better than almost any other combination in the game today.
Cabrera is undoubtedly the machine that makes the Tigers lineup go. His performance in 2013 has been insane. His stat line of .359/.454/.668 if beyond any level of comprehension. His 32 homers, 99 RBI, and 78 runs score are also mighty impressive. If he can keep up this current pace it is more than likely he will win a second straight MVP.
However, not everything is perfect for the Tigers. They recently made a couple of moves at the deadline. One of course was for Astros’ closer Jose Veras. The other was for young Boston short stop Jose Iglesias. Veras as brought in to help solidify a Tigers bullpen that has been in flux all season long. Iglesias, meanwhile, was brought in to take the place of Peralta, who is expected to be suspended any day now for his alleged link to the Biogenesis scandal. The suspension will serve as a massive blow to the Detroit lineup as Peralta had established himself as the best offensive short stop in baseball this season.
That said, these next four games will be critical to both teams. By the time everything is said and done, the Indians could be a game ahead in the Central, or as much as sevens games back and possibly behind the Royals. Can the Indians figure out the mystery that has been the Tigers? I don’t know, but with they way they are playing of late you have to like their chances. Now if only the Tigers weren’t coming into tonight’s game on an even hotter streak. Either way, buckle up.