Ah, the life of a Tigers fan. We’ve seen a lot of ups and downs over the last handful of years, why would this year be any different? This year alone has seen it’s fair share of peaks and valleys, leaving us all wondering what the last two months of the season have in store for us. One might even say it’s the “Circle of Life” that each team goes through every year.
In 1966, the Beach Boys couldn’t have guessed how perfectly they summed up the 2016 Tigers when they famously asked “Wouldn’t it be Nice?”.
Wouldn’t it be nice if things went according to plan? If Anibal Sanchez regularly pitched like a $16 million pitcher (although he has been much better of late). If Jordan Zimmermann was healthy. If slugger J.D. Martinez didn’t miss two months. If Mark Lowe was even half as effective as he was last season (2016 ERA: 8.20 in 37 1/3 innings, 2015 ERA: 1.96 in 55 innings). I could go on, but those are only some of biggest frustrations the team has seen this season.
Sure, not everything has been bad this year. Confusing? Sure. But bad? No. Before the first pitch of tonight’s game in Seattle, the Tigers sit 2.5 games behind the first place Cleveland Indians in the American League Central, and are also 2.5 games back of the second wild card spot. No more than a couple of weeks ago, that number was a gaudy seven games back in the division.
Miguel Cabrera has been on fire since the All-Star break. Cameron Maybin (when healthy) has been an incredible spark plug at the top of the lineup. Victor Martinez and Ian Kinsler have enjoyed healthy and productive seasons. Nick Castellanos, before being fallen with a fractured hand, was also in the midst of a highly productive season. Justin Verlander has been more like the JV of old lately, and who would have guessed that Michael Fulmer would have made such a quick splash? I could go on, but these are some of the things that have had us “Walking on Sunshine” throughout the season, much like Katrina & The Waves were in 1983.
With 50 games left on the schedule, which Tigers team can we expect to see as the playoff race heats up? Will it be the team that just recently won eight straight and 10 of 11, or the team that lost 11 of 12 during a stretch in May? It’s impossible to say, but either way, somebody was prognosticating the 2016 Tigers through song yet again. Foreigner sang about being “Cold as Ice” in 1977, which would be the feeling across Detroit if the Tigers and their $172+ million payroll would fall short of the postseason. But, as Tegan and Sara sang about in “The Lego Movie”, if things stay on the up and up and the Tigers can make a run into the playoffs, we’ll be hearing plenty of people saying “Everything is Awesome”.