The race for the American League Central Division is shaping up to be the hottest, most-watched battle in the major leagues. The Detroit Tigers, champions on paper to begin the season, find themselves being bullied and held in check by the Chicago White Sox - a team many feel shouldn't be in the position they are. On Sunday, September 23, Detroit had the opportunity to regain their footing against the Minnesota Twins in a double-header. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the first game of the day was riddled with the same, familiar instances of self-damaging, lackluster play.
Clinging to what one could consider a last beacon of hope, starting pitcher Max Scherzer would leave in the sixth inning. The bullpen, along with egregious mental mistakes and the continued taunting of Mother Nature, would, once again, leave the Tigers baffled and scrambling for answers.
Scherzer, coming off a brief rest to relax an overly-exhausted throwing arm, was obviously cautious. Not throwing the same velocity he normally would have at his disposal, he relied on a more diverse array of pitches, which was working well into the fifth inning. When he ran into trouble in the sixth, however, the wheels fell off.
A combination of bloop hits, swirling winds and glaring misjudgments in the field ended up allowing the Twins five runs in the sixth inning - a total that would leave Detroit no chance of countering. Andy Dirks misplayed a fly ball caught in the swirling wind. Phil Coke was knocked around by some lucky bloop singles. Bryan Villareal misplayed a tag on Justin Morneau after throwing a pitch in the dirt on strike three.
It wasn't just on defense, either. Austin Jackson, Jhonny Peralta and Gerald Laird dropped goose eggs at the plate. Base running was at a premium and the Tigers were out of fuel. In every facet of the game, something happened that cost Detroit vital opportunities.
Call it karma. Maybe we Tigers' fans are being punished for something done in a previous baseball incarnation. Whatever the case may be, the consistently inconsistent play of this Detroit team forces us all to remain on the edge of our seats, game in and game out. Lady Luck is not on our side. Nor, so it seems, is Father Time, Mother Nature or, for that matter, Fate itself. Somehow, the script is going to need to be flipped and the Detroit version of the "Bambino's Curse" will be reversed.
The author, D. Benjamin Satkowiak, is a successful entrepreneur and published, freelance author, who has tailored works on various sports, health and fitness topics. He currently serves as a Yahoo! Contributor Network "Featured Contributor" and writes on the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Great Lakes Loons and Notre Dame football.
- Sports & Recreation
- Chicago White Sox
- Max Scherzer