All you Tigers fans out there remember, I’m sure, but we all hate acknowledging it. The 2008 squad was expected to have a batting order of epic proportions, featuring Curtis Granderson, Placido Polanco, Gary Sheffield, Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, Pudge Rodriguez, Carlos Guillen, and Edgar Renteria. However, the Tigers started the season 0-7 and even once they reached .500 around midseason, it was just clear that the team didn’t have that special something it takes to make a playoff run –eventually finishing dead last in the Central. Every time it looked like they could be turning the corner, there was an unfortunate event that would set them back once again, and that’s been just about the same thing I’ve seen so far this season.
On Saturday, I thought Scherzer’s first solid outing of the season would give the Tigers both a 2-0 series lead on the White Sox as well as more team confidence, but the lineup failed to support Scherzer and Valverde was unable to hold the Sox in the 9th (3-2 loss). Then last night as Fister stepped back onto the mound and tossed 7 shut-out innings, giving him a total of 10 scoreless innings on the season, again the Tigers couldn’t support the effort enough at the plate or in relief (another 3-2 loss).
The sign of a true competitor is a team with the character to win the close ones and although the Tigers 5-6 record in one-run games isn’t something that should keep Detroit fans sleepless at night, the manner in which they’ve lost these games is at least nightmare worthy. I’m not talking Freddy Krueger, run-for-your-life type nightmares, but instead the paralytic stasis that comes when the dream you were seemingly promised at the beginning of the season starts falling apart while you stand motionless and unable to help.
Down, but definitely not out, the Tigers need to start showing the competitive character that’s recently driven the Cardinals and Rangers and is currently riding with the Dodgers, Nationals, Orioles and even the Miami Marlins on their 7-game winning streak.
The 2008 team couldn’t find the right identity. Will this year’s team be any different?