Repeat after me. The Tigers will win the division. The Tigers will win the division.
Now how many of you actually believe that? The Tigers are in third place in the American League Central Division six games behind the red hot Chicago White Sox and 3 1/2 behind Cleveland. And they are just a whopping 1 1/2 games ahead of Kansas City, a team most people describe as woeful.
Before the Tigers (25-29) can even think about winning the division they must first get to .500. Then they actually have to start playing good baseball. The Tigers do not hit in the clutch and do not drive in runs. Now they are great with two outs and nobody on. But this offense is dreadful and many fans will tell you there is only one solution — fire hitting coach Lloyd McClendon.
OK. Go ahead and do that. But firing McClendon won’t fix bad fielding. The Tigers rank 22nd of 30 teams in team defense with a .981 fielding percentage. And I contend it could be lower if not for some favorable calls by home town score keepers. I’ve seen too many dropped balls, one hoppers to the plate on easy plays and lapses in concentration.
Firing McClendon won’t fix Jose Valverde who is a walking train wreck every time he gets on the mound. He no longer comes into games for saves. He comes into games for scares. There are only three guarantees in life — death, taxes and Papa Grande loading the bases.
Firing McClendon won’t fix that train wreck called second base. Tiger second basemen are hitting .175 which ranks 29th of 30 teams. Only the Milwaukee Brewers are worse. The Tigers .253 on base percentage is worse in the league and they’ve only produced two home runs and 12 RBIs.
And firing McClendon won’t change the bad karma. Justin Verlander has lost three straight games and gave up a first pitch leadoff home run to New York Yankees short stop Derek Jeter the other day. Doug Fister can’t stay healthy and Max Scherzer can’t stay consistent. The Tigers finally found some spark in Austin Jackson and Andy Dirks but both are on the bench with injuries.
The Tigers will win the division. The Tigers will win the division. I truly believe that. I just don’t know what year.