Almost a month ago, I wrote an article about my disappointment with the Detroit Tigers’ regular-season play. As a result, I have heard remarks from a number of people (including my editor) since they clinched their spot in the World Series.
The Tigers have improved since I wrote my article in September (maybe they read it). Although I am very happy they made the World Series, I still believe they had a subpar regular season.
However, that doesn’t really matter. The Tigers are obviously a playoff team, and their stats on Yahoo Sports clearly spell that out.
Although their batting stats are similar to, if not worse than, what they were in the regular season, pitching and fielding have improved since the postseason started. Consistency has also found the Tigers, who, after their losses to Oakland, performed spectacularly in their final American League Division Series game as well as their American League Championship Series sweep of the Yankees.
The Tigers bullpen has realized its full potential this postseason with a 1.74 ERA, which is two points lower than in the regular season. Their .176 batting average against is a huge improvement over the season average of .256, and they have had two less earned runs per game since entering the postseason. They also have an average of 9.5 strikeouts per game, an improvement from their 8.1 per game average during the regular season.
The Tigers defense has also stepped up in the postseason. This season, they averaged .661 errors per game and had a .983 fielding percentage. Since entering the postseason, the Tigers’ defense has put up a .988 fielding percentage and only had an average of .44 errors per game.
Nowhere is this change more apparent than in the MVP choice for this year’s ALCS: Delmon Young. According to an Oct. 19 AP article on FoxSports.com, Young had an ALCS batting average of .353 with two home runs and six RBIs. He had a regular season batting average of .267, and on Oct. 19 Tom Ley of Deadspin.com wrote an article declaring him the worst player to ever win the ALCS MVP.
Young’s MVP award is symbolic of the Tigers’ rise this year. He started out playing so badly that many wanted him to be traded.
He performed no better than average the rest of the season, but ended up being a star in the playoffs. The 2012 team has a similar story, and everyone but Jose Valverde has stepped up to the occasion.
The Tigers have proven many writers wrong this season, including myself. Despite having many valid issues in the regular season, they exploded after their ALDS losses to the Oakland A’s.
Will the Tigers finally win the World Series this year?
After seeing how this season turned out, I am not even going to attempt a prediction.
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