This post is sure to arouse some reaction from those of my readers who are Detroit Tigers fans, but I feel I must write this one. I say as I am writing this, that I sincerely hope I am wrong. But, here are my top 5 reasons why the Detroit Tigers will not win the 2013 World Series.
5.Prince Fielder’s inconsistency. Prince has been up and down all year. His RBI production is about where it was last year, but his Home Run and Batting Average numbers have suffered. Some have speculated that his off-the-field issues may be a distraction, I don’t know about that. But, in a year when he was needed to pick up slack in the lineup, he largely has not.
4. Jhonny Peralta’s suspension. Peralta’s suspension ends on Friday night, September 27th, but the impact is still felt. If the Tigers elect to put him on the post-season roster as a marginal Left Fielder (they have said unequivocally that he will not be the Shortstop), then he runs the risk of being a defensive liability and a distraction. If they leave him off the roster, they potentially lose a power bat, that produces runs, in a lineup that is suddenly in desperate need.
3. Max Scherzer’s late season slump. As recently as September 1, Max seemed nearly invincible. Lately, fate and the law of averages have caught up with him, and he has become quite ordinary. Finally in the division-clinching game he returned to form. He could turn it up a notch for the post season, or he might be gassed. Time will tell.
2. Justin Verlander’s inconsistency. Which JV will show up on any given night? The one that flirts with no-hitters, or the one that can’t get out of the 3rd inning? The one that mows down batters posting 12 strikeouts, or the one that serves up taters? This former MVP and Cy Young winner is still a good pitcher, but he isn’t the dominating, go-to starter he has been in past years. Presently, I would rank him 3rd or 4th on the rotation, behind Sanchez, Fister and Scherzer. And, considering how well he has pitched down the stretch, it isn’t out of the question to put Porcello ahead of him.
1. Miguel Cabrera’s injuries. This is clearly the biggest reason. Through August, when he was relatively healthy, Miggy put up Ruthian numbers. The middle of the lineup was formidable, and difficult to pitch through. But, he has gone from Ruthian to Suzukian as he has become a singles hitter who can’t run. And, don’t expect any miracles. While he might be up for the occasional Kirk Gibsonesque heroics, he won’t be anchoring the middle of the lineup the way he did in April through August.
I could have added bullpen inconsistency, troubles behind the plate, and the fact that their bats mysteriously go silent (12 times they have been shut out this year), but those are not in my top 5.
October is a time for unlikely heroes, and teams that get themselves on a roll. The Tigers could catch fire next week, sustain the fire through the playoff, and make me look like an idiot for this post, but I don’t see it. Again, I truly hope I am wrong on this, but I do not see champagne flowing at Comerica Park in late October.