A lot has changed with the Tigers in a year. Last year, Brandon Inge was playing third base, Victor Martinez was the designated hitter and Miguel Cabrera was manning first base. Prince Fielder was a Brewer, Delmon Young a Twin and Doug Fister a Mariner.
At this time last year, Austin Jackson had a .318 on-base percentage and just three home runs; Brennan Boesch was hitting .301with a .838 OPS; Johnny Peralta was batting .308 with 14 home runs. On the pitching side, Brad Penny had the second best ERA among starters (4.50); Al Alburquerque had 47 strikeouts in 29 innings; Jose Valverde was a perfect 24 for 24 in save opportunities.
Despite the differences between 2011 and 2012, the record after 93 games is the same. On July 15, 2011, the Tigers were 49-44 and one game behind the Indians. On July 20, 2012, the Tigers are 49-44 and one and a half games behind the White Sox.
They were also pretty similar in terms of runs scored and runs allowed checking in around league average in both categories in both years. Last year, they scored 415 and allowed 429 (a negative 14 run differential). This year, they have scored 424 and allowed 413 (a run differential of 11) . So, they were a little luckier last year and a little better this year.
Last year, they were in the middle of a three game series with the White Sox and had just lost the first game 8-2 in a rare pounding of Justin Verlander. This year, of course they are starting a three-games series versus Chicago with Verlander on the mound. Hopefully, tonight goes a little better than that.
Then again, Tigers fans will be happy if the final regular season result is the same as last year when they went 46-23 in their last 69 games to finish with a record of 95-67 and a division title by 15 games.