BY STEVE DUNN
Labor Day is in one week and for many Americans, baseball is the small talk of preference. I am among the legion that believes that baseball is still America’s game.
Every morning my neighbor (the local parking control officer for the town) and I trade scores and commentary. He’s a faithful fan of the Baltimore Orioles and I (as you can see above) am a fan of the Detroit Tigers. Lifelong I must say. A waiter in Denny’s Saturday morning saw me in one of my Tiger tee shirts commented on that admission by saying, “In good times and bad–and right now the times are very god for you.” (He’s a Pirates fan for whom times are “gooder” this late in the season than in many years.)
As of this writing, the Tigers have a six and a half game lead on the Indians in the AL Central, 11 on the next closest team–the surprising Kansas City Royals. Most of the past two weeks that have traded the top spot in the American League with the Boston Red Sox.
There is little doubt that the key to the Tigers success lies in two men, Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer. Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball today, who took the Triple Crown in 2012 and is actually leading in 2 of the 3 categories that make up the Crown. If he can close the gap with Chris Davis of the O’s in homers, he will be the first person in history to capture back-to-back Triple Crowns.
The other is pitcher Max Scherzer, who as of Saturday’s eleven strikeout victory over the Mets was now 19-1 on the season. In a year when Tiger ace, Justin Verlander seems to have had a wheel or two fall off, Scherzer has taken command on the mound. He is part of what many feel is the best starting pitcher corp in baseball. If it were not for a dubious relief group that has struggled notably, the Tigers might have already lapped the rest of the AL.
Added to that are some great hitters like Torii Hunter, Prince Fielder, Johnny Peralta, Omar Infante, Austin Jackson and late arriving Julio Iglesia. And then there’s Victor Martinez who sat out the entire 2012 season and struggled to be barely over ,200 the first two months in the season but is now one of the hottest hitters in baseball.
I am increasingly confident that short of a September meltdown, the Tigers can go all the way! Right now I am predicting a Tigers-Pirates World Series … but it could be Tigers-Braves,
In any case–go Tigers!!!!!!