Three days ago, the Tigers were 11 games out of first and fans were wondering which players would be traded to contenders in July. Miguel Cabrera was getting booed in Comerica and many internet fans viewed him as the chief culprit of the Tigers disappointing season. Today, the Tigers beat the White Sox 2-1 to complete a three game sweep over the central division leaders and the decisive blow was a walk homer by Cabrera in the bottom of the ninth. So now Cabrera is a hero and Tigers fans are dreaming of a summer come back in the AL Central. What a difference a series makes.
Perhaps even more important than the sweep was that Kenny Rogers pitched another strong game allowing just one run on four hits in eight innings. He has now allowed just four runs in 29 innings (1.34 ERA) in his last four starts. A pitcher who a few weeks ago looked to be all done at the age of 43 now seems to have regained his form of 2006. It's a big boost for a team who has lost Jeremy Bonderman for probably the rest of the season and who has seen Dontrelle Willis seemingly forget how to pitch.
Before we get too giddy about the sweep though, remember that the last two sweeps did not inspire continued good play. A three game sweep of The Yankees, which drew them to within a game of .500 on May 1, was followed by a five game losing streak. A three game sweep of Seattle in the middle of May was followed by four losses in their next five games.
With their margin of error now just about gone, it's crucial that they avoid a let down as they head into interleague play. In their next five series, they will be facing four teams - the Dodgers, Padres, Giants and Rockies - who are under .500 and one team - the Cardinals - who are missing their star play (Albert Pujols). It is a stretch of games where they must do very well if they want to be serious contenders.