With Time Running Out, the Detroit Tigers Must Play Perfect

Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers

Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Every game counts means more than ever. With only 16 games remaining, the Detroit Tigers find themselves three games behind the AL Central leading Chicago White Sox.

It’s going to be division or nothing for the Tigers. They are farther out for the second wild card spot than the division lead. The fact that it has even come to this point is mind boggling.

Coming into the 2012 season, the Tigers had won the AL Central by over 10 games. With Prince Fielder now wearing a Tigers uniform, it seemed that they would be a for sure lock to win the central and make back-to-back to post season appearances for the first time since 1934 and 1935.

Over this past week the Tigers played a pivotal series in Chicago. After getting swept by the Los Angeles Angels, the Tigers entered Chicago two games down  with four games left to play.

The White Sox took game one, the Tigers won the next two. Setting up an identical match-up that occurred a 11 days prior: Chris Sale vs. Justin Verlander. If the Tigers win, they leave Chicago and head off to Cleveland tied for the division lead. Lose, and you’re two games out.

But the game never happened. It was rained out and postponed for after each team finished their next series. So the Tigers headed off to Cleveland and the Sox went off to Minnesota. The Tigers nearly swept Cleveland and the White Sox swept the Twins. When the two teams met on Monday to make up for the game that was rained out, it was a must win game. But the Tigers lost perhaps the biggest game of the year.

The Tigers open up a series with the Oakland A’s on Monday. The A’ s are one of the biggest surprise teams of 2012. With their great pitching, and an offense that finds a way to get it done, it won’t be easy to win a series against them.

The White Sox will open a series against the Kansas City Royals. A team that has given them headaches all year. If the Tigers have any hope of making the playoffs they will have to go 12-4 in their last 16 games and the White Sox will have to go 8-8.

It’s a very feasible task, but with the way the Tigers have struggled to win on the road and score runs on a consistent basis, those three games much just be too much to overcome. It’s all up to them, whether or not they play well enough to make it into October. But they are going to have to play near perfect baseball and hope the White Sox slump to make it.

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