When asked in the spring what kind of team he had, Sparky Anderson always used to say, "Give me 40 games and I can tell you."
Well, the Detroit Tigers of 2008 have now played 32 games and about the only good thing we can say as we approach "The "Anderson Line" is that they play in the American League Central Division. It's the only reason the Tigers are a mere three games out of first place. The AL Central, to this point at least, is the home of mediocrity. When the Tigers game at Minnesota got underway Saturday night, four of the five teams in the division had 14 wins. At that point, Detroit was only a game out of first. Getting swept in Minnesota has dropped 'em, as we mentioned, three off the pace.
It's been hard to get fired up about this ballclub. They step onto baseball's grandest stage, Yankee Stadium, and in what will likely be the last time they see the place, sweep New York. They then proceed directly to baseballs biggest dump, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, (the worst ballpark in baseball today and perhaps the worst ballpark ever although, to be fair, I never saw Jarry Park--Le Parc Jarry--in Montreal) and promptly lose all three to the Twins, shutout in 24 of their 27 at-bats over the weekend.
It's been like this all year. The Tigers score 37 runs and hit ten homers in a three-game sweep of the Rangers, then drop two out of three to the Angels.
They win four out of five and look like they are ready to make a move in late April after a 2-10 start, then drop two in a row to the Blue Jays.
Then this latest little embarrassment in Minneapolis after the teams first three-game sweep in New York since 1966.
It reminds me of a poem I read in Mad Magazine in the 1960's and have never forgotten. It was called, appropriately enough, The Tigers : > > They sweep New York and look so pretty, > > Then drop four to Kansas City. > > Their hitting's superb, their fielding adroit. > > So, why no pennant for Detroit?
Yes, the Tigers are over .500 since their 0-7 start (14-11), but they haven't caught fire--at least not in any sustained fashion. Detroit's longest winning streak this season is four games.
Eight games to go, and we will all know what kind of a team they have this season.