The Tigers season ended right where it began – with a record of equal wins and losses. For those of us that hang on to every game as if it was a Game 7 of the World Series, the post All-Star break has been a challenge and a tough storyline to watch. With Miguel Cabrera spending his final games of the season on the bench, watching the line-ups for games 159-162 have been a significant reminder of how everything began to go awry when the calendar turned to July. Now, only time will tell whether anyone considers this season to be a success.
I must remind everyone that there was a time when an 81-81 record would have been cause for celebration in this town. How many times did we turn on the local news to see in late August/early September that the Tigers had clinched their _ _ th straight losing season? While expectations in this town have changed with the success of the team, there’s no denying Jim Leyland’s fourth non-losing season in five with the Tigers. There’s also no question about how this town is beginning to be more and more recognized nationwide as being a baseball town.
For Austin Jackson’s ROY candidate season, Miguel Cabrera’s MVP-style adventure and another solid season out of ace Justin Verlander, the Tigers had some nice individual efforts in a season riddled by injuries. Much like Magglio’s incredible batting title season of 2007, the team effort was overshadowed by essentially a single batter on the team. For this team to contend in 2011, they’ll need to shore up that rotation and give Cabrera some help.