Seat No. 10
Welcome to Section 313, Seat No. 10 — I’m glad you’re here. As we gather in the section this week, we come to a series that seems insignificant for the Detroit Tigers but will tell us a lot about the team. As the Tigers take on the Boston Red Sox this weekend our season very well could be defined come Sunday afternoon.
The Tigers have fallen, once again, below the .500 mark on the season. Sitting at 29-30 they missed an opportunity to take advantage of a Los Angeles Angels team that has struggled offensively and also has struggled with their starting pitching. However, the Tigers managed to win only one of the three games, letting the Angels out of town with a series win.
The point here is not to be pessimistic about this team — there is enough of that around the fan base. The point is to look ahead, since the past cannot be changed, and focus on what matters right now — The Boston Red Sox.
I love this quote from Nolan Ryan:
One of the beautiful things about baseball is that every once in a while you come into a situation where you want to, and where you have to, reach down and prove something
Is it not true that the Tigers have something to prove? If your answer, or their answer for that matter, is no — you are mistaken. I hate to talk about destiny because frankly, I don’t believe in it when it comes to sports, but from the outset of this season, everyone was talking about dedicating this season to Mr. Ilitch, who passed away back in February. Are they playing worthy of a man who loved winning? A man who loved this team more than anything else — simply, no they are not. So what do they have to prove, you may ask? They have this to prove, how bad they really want it — because sometimes it doesn’t look like it’s there.
The Tigers head into their series with the Boston Red Sox sitting one game under .500 and 2.5 games out of first place in the AL Central. The salt in the wound of this season so far is the fact that we boast of some of the greatest names in the sport, yet struggled to take control of a very poorly contested division. If the Tigers are going to make any type of move, now is the time.
Tigers June Schedule
The Tigers have 20 games remaining in June, ten at home and ten on the road. However, the fact that they got through a brutal month of May, should give us reason to believe that these next 20 games can put the team in a prime position to get back on track. The combined record of the seven teams we have on the schedule in June is 207-200, just over .500.
With ten games at home, the Tigers will need to find a way to defend their home turf. As of tonight, they sit 16-12 at home with a +25 run differential. However, on the road they are 13-18 with a -29 run differential. When looking at those numbers it’s easy to see why the team sits at a game below .500.
Which is why it is imperative to get off to a good start by taking at least two of three from the Red Sox
Why This Red Sox Series is so Crucial
While the Tigers are playing three games in Boston, the Minnesota Twins will be playing an inter-league series against the San Francisco Giants. While the Giants used to be a team that used to strike fear in people, they are more or less underachieving and not playing very well, sitting just a game and a half better than the San Diego Padres in the NL West.
It is so important that the Tigers get off to a good start in these final 20 games of June by starting well in Boston. The onus for that lies squarely on the shoulders of Jordan Zimmermann. Zim was much better in his last start against the White Sox and will need to be every bit as good or better against an offense that has struck out the least amount (17 %) of any team in the MLB. The Red Sox offense has also scored the 14th most runs (276) in the MLB, so Zim’s work will be cut out for him.
Each of the other pitching matchups for Saturday and Sunday are still up in the air for both teams. However, the Tigers most likely will face Chris Sale during the weekend. Sale is 8-8 in his career against the Tigers with a 3.01 ERA, so getting to him is possible and would go along way to establishing a good feeling moving forward for the team.
As the calendar has turned to June, this Tigers team is still very much in the mix of contention. The naysayers are calling for a fire sale, but we just cannot do that yet. However, this team has some things to prove, starting this weekend in Boston. What is it they have to prove — prove to us, themselves, and management that they want to contend and make good on their promises and dedications to Mr. I.