Tigers fans were frustrated after a mediocre first three weeks of the season. They were down on an offense that was struggling to get on base and couldn't get the runners home when they did reach base. Even on a four and three road trip in Oakland and Seattle, it seemed like half of their runs were due to sloppy defense. And if felt like the other half came against relief pitchers who couldn't get the ball over the plate.
Fans were also down on the Tigers inconsistent pitching and unsatisfactory defense. They were down on Jim Dombrowski for putting together what was starting to look like a shallow roster and on Jim Leyland for his puzzling line-ups. It looked like a long season ahead.
Three days later, the Tigers have finished a three-game sweep where they outscored the White Sox 21-3. The Tigers received a solid performance by Justin Verlander and a 9-3 win on Friday night. Yesterday, Brad Penny surprised us with a seven inning one hitter as the Tigers routed the Sox 9-0. Impatient fans are now willing to let Penny get another start or two before his release. Today, Max Scherzer shut out the Chicagoans for eight innings and the Tigers won 3-0.
The offense was encouraging this weekend as well. A badly slumping Austin Jackson reached base six times on five hits and a walk. The struggling Ryan Raburn played two more games at second base without incident and contributed five hits for seven RBIs in three games. Brennan Boesch continued his strong hitting going four for nine and drawing his tenth walk. Hot hitting Alex Avila clubbed six more hits, three for extra bases, to raise his OPS to .976.
The sweep leaves the Tigers just 1 1/2 games behind the first place Indians, 2 1/2 ahead of the Twins and 4 ahead of the White Sox. All is well again for the Tigers fans and the summer looks bright. A three-game sweep versus the hated White Sox changes things. Doesn't it?