For the first time since July 23, the Tigers no longer have sole possession of first place. The Twins have caught them with one game to go. Zack Greinke was supposed to help the Tigers today but did not. He gave up four runs in the sixth inning and the Twins went on to beat the Royals 5-4. The Tigers were supposed to show up the last three games but didn't. Since reducing the magic number to one, they have been outscored 21-4 in three games.
I never like to accuse professional teams of choking but that looks like what is happening here. The Tigers have been bad at all phases of the game. You had to expect them to have pitching problems with Nate Robertson and Alfredo Figaro starting two of the games. The fielding has been shoddy as well though. Today, Placido Polanco of all players booted a double play ball and Magglio Ordonez didn't make a catch he should have made. Fielding has been crucial to the team's success this year but it hasn't been there the last week.
The hitting has been brutally bad and the worst batter the last two games has been Miguel Cabrera. The whole offense revelves around Cabrera and he has failed to hit the ball out of the infield in 8 at bats. He has gone up to the plate seemingly with no plan and just swings wildly. On a team filled with black holes, they can't score when their top hitter disappears like this.
The Tigers have one last chance to extend the season tomorrow. It will be Justin Verlander versus John Danks. If the Tigers win and the Twins lose, then the Tigers make the playoffs. If the Twins win and the Tigers lose, then the Twins are in. If both win or both lose, then there will be a one game playoff at the Metrodome on Tuesday. I'm usually optimistic about the Tigers but I can't say I have much confidence in this team right now.