The Detroit Tigers will enter play Friday night with the best record in baseball as they look to extend their current win streak to four games and win their ninth straight road game this season. The Tigers will go into play of Friday with a 24-12 record, good for a .667 win percentage. There are multiple reasons why the Tigers have played the most consistent baseball this season, but we will look over only a few of the key reasons here. The Tigers own the biggest division lead of all the divisions in baseball, leading Kansas City by 5.5 games prior to Thursday’s game. Here are three key reasons why all of these have come to fruition so far this season:
The rotation is one of the best in baseball
The Tigers own one of the majors best rotations to date which has limited any losing streaks the Tigers have had this season. The longest losing streak the Tigers have had so far has been two games and that is due largely in part to the starting rotation. When you have pitchers such as Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Annibal Sanchez, there are not going to be many lengthy losing streaks in a season. Rick Porcello is also in the midst of a breakout season as he is currently 6-1 with a 3.22 ERA, his lowest of his career. Drew Smyly has shown that he belongs in the rotation and this starting five will give even the best hitting teams fits.
The offense is very efficient with the bats and on the base paths
The Tigers feature a lineup day after day that has the best hitter of our generation in Miguel Cabrera and a man who is as hard to get out as they come in Victor Martinez. The past few seasons the Tigers were an offense that used power to score runs. This season, the Tigers have used mainly speed to manufacture runs in all different ways. The addition of Rajai Davis has been perhaps one of the best free agent signings of the offseason. Davis has added a completely new element to the Tigers team and has helped them accumulate 35 stolen bases this season in 36 games. The Tigers stole 35 bases all of last season. The 35 stolen bases is the second most in the majors behind only the L.A. Dodgers. The Tigers currently are batting .277 as a team which is tops in the American League. The combination of solid hitting plus speed on the base paths is a nightmare for opposing pitching. Miguel Cabrera also returning to form in the month of May most likely has opposing pitchers tossing and turning at night.
Consistent road play
A good strategy for a team looking to make the playoffs is to play .500 baseball on the road and win as many as possible at home. The Tigers have gone beyond that step to go 11-4 on the road this season, winning their past eight in a row. The Tigers are most likely going to win around 50 games at home, so if they are able to even play a little below their current road pace, they could finish with 100+ wins on the season. The month of May will show how good of a road team the Tigers really are. The Tigers play 18 of 29 games on the road in May, with all of the games being against quality opponents. The Tigers will enter play on Friday having won all of their road games thus far in the month of May, part of their current eight game road win streak.
As previously stated, there are many more reasons why the Tigers currently own baseball’s best record. If the Tigers are able to continue their torrid early season pace, this will be one of the best summer’s for baseball in recent Tigers history. That is not certain to happen, but one thing that is for certain is the fact that no team currently wants to play these Tigers.