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Pretty good weekend, but far from over

Andrew Mouranie

It was seemingly the right time for the Chicago White Sox to come to Detroit to play the Tigers. Jim Leyland’s team had struggled since the All-Star break losing five of their six games. The offense had been inept, losing four of those games by a 2-1 score (and that includes playing three games at the softball park known as Yankee Stadium). The White Sox, on the other hand, were 5-2 since the break and finally caught the Tigers in the AL Central standings. They were even coming off a 5-0 win on Thursday over Tampa Bay where Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game!

They had momentum. They were playing the reeling first place team. Carlos Quentin was back in the lineup. Everything seemed in line for the White Sox to finally pass the Tigers for the AL Central lead.

And obviously, as expected, the Tigers took 3 out of 4 in the series.

Baseball is a crazy game isn’t it?

The Tigers played very well during the doubleheader Friday and then again on Saturday, showing signs of life after a miserable beginning to the second-half of the season. Sunday was a bit of a rough patch as Rick Porcello struggled in the first inning and the offense never was able to get anything going to claw them back into the game.

The pitching, aside from Porcello’s first inning, was again tremendous. Justin Verlander continues to prove why he is one of the game’s best young pitchers with a complete-game in the first game of the doubleheader on Friday. Eddie Bonine made a spot start in the nightcap and threw very effectively. Edwin Jackson was a little wild on Saturday, but like Bonine, kept the team in the game and gave them a chance to win late. The Tigers bullpen did not allow a run in the four games. As a whole, the pitching continues to shine.

The offense, on the other hand, remains a mystery. The Tigers did not score more than 5 runs in any game during the series. They did get a bit of a boost from the returning Carlos Guillen, who went 5-for-12 with two RBIs, including the game-winning RBI in the 10th inning Saturday, in his first three games after coming off the disabled list. He did not play in the series finale on Sunday. But even with Guillen somewhat back (he can’t play the outfield or bat right-handed as of yet), I’m sure Dave Dombrowski is working the phones trying to acquire another bat for this lineup before Thursday’s trade deadline.

So overall, it was a pretty good weekend for the Tigers. They still sit in first place with a 2-game lead over the White Sox and a 4-game advantage over the Minnesota Twins. The White Sox and Twins begin a series Monday at the Metrodome.

But I want to warn Tiger fans to calm down and realize this was only a weekend series in July. I know Detroit fans have the tendency to get overly excited or overly depressed based on their teams’ performances in somewhat meaningless games (I’m guilty of that too sometimes). And I am not saying this weekend series did not mean anything, but it was not played in late September. There is still plenty of baseball remaining and the Tigers must focus on the next hurdle in front of them, which is a trip to Arlington to face the much-improved Texas Rangers. If they look back on the weekend and ease off the gas pedal, these three wins will mean nothing come October.

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