The Detroit Tigers did not have the start to the season they probably thought they would with one of the most talented rosters in all of MLB, but the team looks to have turned the corner and now should be considered the favorites to win the American League pennant.
The Tigers defeated the Oakland Athletics 9-3 at Comerica Park on Wednesday and completed a three-game sweep of the AL West leaders. Justin Verlander picked up the victory after allowing two runs on nine hits in six innings of work. The Tigers exploded for six runs in the sixth with Miguel Cabrera punctuated the frame smacking a two-run double. The Tigers have won 11 of their last 13 games and now have a solid five-game lead in the AL Central over the Kansas City Royals.
The Tigers have to feel confident with this recent streak, because it has come with offense and pitching balancing out. J.D. Martinez has been one of the most pleasant surprises in all of baseball with his .315 batting average and 10 homers. Rick Porcello has tossed two straight shutouts and is doing so in an incredible way. He only needed 95 pitches in Tuesday’s victory and has allowed only seven hits total in those games while walking only three batters. Porcello has won three straight starts and is probably the fourth guy the team would rely on come playoff time.
Anibal Sanchez is a sneaky Cy Young contender after compiling 2.63 ERA to go along with a dazzling 0.98 WHIP. He only has five wins this season, but with the sabermetric world opening the eyes of voters, his lack of win total should not count against him.
The Tigers took a little longer than they may have wanted to get rolling, but with an excellent pitching staff and a great lineup, they now look primed to make a World Series run.