Should the Detroit Tigers go on to win the World Series in 2013, yesterday will serve as a convenient “turning point” in their season. Down three runs in the ninth inning, facing a four game home sweep at the hands of the Oakland A’s, Detroit rallied for four runs against Grant Balfour, the big blow coming via Torii Hunter‘s huge walkoff homer.
Hunter might have saved their season, though I doubt a team up more than six games in their own division needs “saving.” The Tigers have the best rotation in baseball and the best offense in baseball as well. They added Jose Iglesias to improve their infield defense after the suspension of Jhonny Peralta.
But throw a four game losing streak into the mix and add a side of Miguel Cabrera walking off the field gingerly, coming out of the game with that is being termed an aggravation of his “left abdominal wall strain” as well as some ankle soreness and suddenly the outlook isn’t nearly as sunny.
Good job by the Tigers to get the crippling 4-game sweep out of the way before the World Series
— Matt Sussman (@suss2hyphens) August 29, 2013
The implications of losing Miguel Cabrera, even for a week, are huge as he’s the most gifted hitter in the game, posting enormous numbers and all but carrying the middle of the Tigers order. Much has been made of Prince Fielder‘s struggles this year, though Victor Martinez battled through a rough start to the season and looks much more like the V-Mart of old.
The Tigers will cruise into the playoffs with or without Miguel Cabrera. I doubt yesterday’s dramatics help convince them that they can win without Cabrera but avoiding the four game sweep at home gives them a tiny bit of breathing room as they get set to host Cleveland for a weekend series. A series that takes on extra significance if the Tigers continue giving up runs as they did against the A’s.
And the rest
Nice look at who and what Joey Votto is [Fangraphs]
From earlier this week, the humbling of Joey Votto by a Cardinals reliever. [Getting Blanked]
Vin Scully, the standard bearer for aging gracefully [HBT]
Ugh. Don’t sleep on the Nats.
The Rangers are 22-6 since July 29th? Man I don’t even [Newberg Report]