Just like the last time the Tigers had an opportunity to tie for first, Justin Verlander will be facing Chris Sale. The last time these two faced each other, Verlander had an outstanding performance. Verlander went eight strong innings while striking out 11 White Sox. Sale, however, lasted six innings and gave up four earned runs.
But the Tigers did not last long with the White Sox. A night after tying for the division, the Tigers found themselves looking right back up at the White Sox in first place.
If the Tigers can manage to repeat what they did against Sale last time they faced him, and once again crawl back into a first place tie, there are a few things they need to do differently if the Tigers are going to finally stay in first.
Beat the Cleveland Indians: I cannot stress this enough. There has been only one team worst than the Indians in the second half, and that team is the Houston Astros. Yes, the Astros, the worst team in baseball. Yet, the Indians have been a thorn in the Tigers’ side all year. If the Tigers are finally going to overtake first, beating the Indians is a must.
Winning on the road: If you’re going to be a winning ball club with playoff aspirations, you have to win everywhere. The Tigers defend their home turf as good as anyone in the game of baseball. But winning on the road has been a struggling. Until Wednesday night, the Tigers had not won back-to-back road games since July. The Tigers finish the season on a six game road trip, that includes three games in Kansas City and three games in Minnesota. If the Tigers cannot win got big wins on the road at the end of the season, it could be disastrous to their playoff hopes.
Offense: Over the last two games the Tigers have scored 13 runs, which is more than their last five games combined. Surprisingly, inconsistent offense has been a fatal flaw all year. It doesn’t help when your five through nine hitters are hitting below .260. But nonetheless, the Tigers need to step it up in the runs category to help out what has been great starting pitching. You score consistent runs, chances are the Tigers’ pitching will do the rest and will win some ball games.
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