The Tigers topped the Athletics 6-1 today to take the three game series two games to one. Winning a series at home from a team that had previously lost ten in a row and has one of the weakest line-ups in baseball is no great feat. Still, it's nice to see that the Tigers are not mailing in the season as they apparently did in 2005 under similar circumstances. Friday night, it looked like they might be ready to do just that but they bounced back yesterday and today.
It's a shame the Tigers have fallen so far out of the race because all 19 of the remaining games this month are against teams that are at about .500 or below - Toronto (4 games), Baltimore (3), Texas (3), Kansas City (6) and Cleveland (3). Not only that, but 13 of those games are at home. It would have been a good opportunity to make a move in the pennant race but now it looks like it won't make a difference. It would still be nice if they can give us a good show and win most of those series though.
One guy who is entertaining us as of late is Miguel Cabrera. He is batting .346/.399/.654 in 168 plate appearances since June 27. His 1.053 OPS over that span is best in the American League. With pitchers now pitching around him - six walks in his last four games - it might be a good time for a line-up change. I'd like to see Cabrera moved into the third spot in front of Magglio Ordonez. That way he would get more at bats and wouldn't be pitched around very much. Either that or have Ordonez bat third and Cabrera fourth with Carlos Guillen batting fifth. Jim Leyland doesn't like to change the batting order though so this is a move I'm not expecting.
They will continue to pitch around Cabrera as long as Gary Sheffield struggles. Sheffield has shown a little more power since the all-star break but .234/.318/.468 is not good enough for a designated hitter. Sheffield is hitting a paltry .225/.326/.380 for the season. According to The Boston Globe, Sheffield says he would waive his no trade clause in order to be traded to a contender. He is still owed about $19 million this year and next though so I don't know who would want him. It's possible some team might think he will get hot for a few weeks and make a deal if the Tigers agree to pay a good proportion of the remainder of his contract. That's another move I'm not expecting though.