On July 23, 2007, thru 97 games the Detroit Tigers led their division, the American League Central, by a season-high 2 games and had the best record in the Majors at 59-38. Detroit had a winning percentage of .606 and was one of only 2 ML teams in with a win percentage of over .600 on that date (Boston, .604).
From that point on however, the 2007 Tigers fell apart, playing their final 65 games at a .446 clip with a 29-36 record. It mirrored almost exactly what the World Series team of the previous season had done when the 2006 Tigers opened 76-36 (.679) thru 112 games, good for a 10-game lead in the division on August 7, only to finish 19-31 (.380) in their final 50 games and lose the division crown on the last day of the regular season.
But, I digress.
Take the Tigers record from their high-water mark last season until the end of the regular season (29-36) and add it to their record this season (16-21) and you've got a ballclub which has won 45 and lost 57 in their last 102 games. Win Percentage: .441.
The point here is that Detroit's slump didn't exactly begin with the Tigers 0-7 start here in 2008. It began last July.
While the Tigers have won 2 of their last 3 (Detroit's only wins in their last 8) we will have to wait and see if this is a trend or an anomaly. Detroit's 4-0 against the Yankees this season and it is, of course, New York which provides the opposition later this afternoon in the middle game of the 3-game series this weekend between the teams.
The good news continues to be the fact that Detroit plays in the AL Central where a .500 record--the definition of mediocrity--means (as of today, anyway) you are only a game out of first. The Tigs are in fourth place (percentage points ahead of last-place Kansas City) but because nobody in the division is going good, the Tigers are only 3.5 games off the division lead. The Wild Card standings are an eye-opener, though. If you were thinking that even if they don't win their division the Tigers could still get into the playoffs as the Wild Card winner, Detroit's 10th right now in the Wild Card standings, 6 back of the leaders. Please make a note of it.