The Detroit Tigers begin their quest for its first World Series win since 1984 tonight in Oakland with the start of the American League Divisional Series.
Detroit locked up a playoff spot with its third consecutive Central Division title. It was the first time since 1907-09 that the Tigers had won its division three straight times.
The Tigers finished with 93 wins, but still had an up and down season. They have had bullpen struggles, their ace has struggled at times, the lineup disappears too often and now their star Miguel Cabrera is hurting. Despite that, a World Series title is in reach.
3 reasons Detroit wins World Series
Starting rotation: The Tigers have one of, if not the best starting rotations in the league. Max Schrezer is baseball’s only 20-game winner (21-3) and has gone 31-6 since mid-June of last year. Scherzer should win the Cy Young award. Annibal Sanchez won the AL ERA award with a 2.57. He won 14 games and will receive votes in the Cy Young voting. Despite his struggles, Justin Verlander still won 13 games. Doug Fister is solid and so is Rick Porcello, who will now pitch out of the bullpen.
Miguel Cabrera: Cabrera is injured and it has shown in his production the past month. He puts up monster numbers and can help the Tigers win a game with one swing of the bat. Hopefully, a couple of days rest has rejuvenated him for the playoffs. Cabrera may not be able to run, but he can still hit.
Experience: The Tigers are making their fourth trip to the playoffs in eight years. They reached the World Series last year, despite being swept. To get there, they needed to win a game five in Oakland in the ALDS. Pressure won’t get to this team. They have had pressure all year.
3 reasons Detroit loses World Series
Bullpen: The Tigers bullpen, for the most part, has been erratic all season. From the Jose Valverde experience, to Phil Coke’s struggles to Bruce Rondon’s injury, the bullpen has cost the Tigers plenty of games. The back end in Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit has been terrific. If the Tigers starting pitching can go deep, the bullpen won’t be an issue. If the bullpen is needed early and often, it could be a short postseason appearance.
Miguel Cabrera: Cabrera is injured. His numbers in September have been human. He is hitting below .300, with one home run and just a handful of RBI this past month. The Tigers need his powerful opposite field hitting. If he struggles, the Tigers will struggle. Cabrera is a major reason why the Tigers closed out the season playing .500 ball.
Baserunning: The Tigers dominate the lineup with hitters 3-5. They struggle 6-9. The Tigers need to capitalize when the big three of Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez get on base. It’s tough to do so when at least two of the three can’t go from first to third on a base hit. How many times have the Tigers had four hits in an inning and not scored a run this year? We need the bottom of the lineup to hit, but the middle part of the order to run.
I hate making predictions when it comes to the Tigers winning a World Series. For one, I’m a big homer. For two, baseball is a crazy game. I think the Tigers have the talent to win it all. If they play well and consistent, the Tigers will win. If not, the Red Sox, Rays, Dodgers or Cardinals could win it this year. The road to the World Series is much tougher this season.