The Tigers defeated the Royals 6-3 tonight to clinch their second consecutive AL Central division title. Starter Rick Porcello pitched five innings of one-run ball to notch the victory and sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder paced the 14-hit attach with four hits apiece.
Cabrera is now batting .329 which puts him .005 ahead of Mike Trout, his nearest challenger in the batting race. Trout has gone three for three so far tonight passing Twins catcher Joe Mauer who is now at .322. Cabrera also hit is 44th homer to go one up on Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. So, the odds of winning the Triple Crown appear to be in his favor.
This is the 13th time in their 112 year history that the Tigers have reached post-season. It is also the first time since 1934-1935 that they have made it in two consecutive seasons. Of course, it was more difficult back then as only one of eight teams made the post-season which was simply the World Series.
The 2012 regular season has not been the most inspiring Tigers effort. They are probably going to finish with the seventh best record in the league which will make them the first AL team to finish that low and still make the playoffs. Even if they win their last two games, they will finish with the lowest winning percentage of any Tigers post-season team.
On the positive side, the Tigers have finished strong going 13-6 to overcome a three-game deficit as the White Sox collapsed down the stretch. The new season begins on Saturday versus an unknown opponent. I've been a bit down on the Tigers this year, but I think they have the type of team that can make a good playoff run despite all their faults. They have strong starting pitching and two stars in the middle of the order who should not be intimidated by even the best of pitchers. They lack depth, but that is less important in the playoffs than the regular season.
Good luck to the 2012 AL Central champions.