“The Reverse the Curse” Red Sox of 2004 did not reverse the curse by winning the World Series.
It was, in the most appropriate sense of the word, an exorcism. The greatest in the history of baseball to date, and the Red Sox needed to do it in Yankee Stadium. They needed to rid themselves of the great demon in the house that he built, or it wouldn’t have been right. It was poetic.
On a much smaller scale, the Tigers exorcised a demon in Cleveland. The awkward plane flight that preceded the Tigers month-long slide felt ominous. Tiger fans often wait for the other shoe to drop when things are going well.
There is encouragement in the Tigers sweep of the Indians. Like the Red Sox, the Tigers just needed to go back to the source of their woes and kick the snot out of the Indians until they felt better.
In the last month, the bullpen has suffered through horrid woes, #justin verlander has been lit up like the sky on the Fourth of July, #joe nathan has lost his ice cold nerves and the offense has sputtered.
Heading into Cleveland, Joe Nathan appeared to regain that touch. He shutdown the Royals in a one-run game, striking out the side with electrifying precision. He returned to the mound in Cleveland and again slammed the door shut to win game one of the series.
His third consecutive appearance was less impressive, though he appeared fine through his first 15 pitches. At nearly 40 years old, the misstep can be attributed to fatigue, pitching on a third straight day. His pitches have more life, which probably will take some time for him to get used to again, being that he’s only touched 91 with most of his fastballs this season.
It was a return to form that Tiger fans can feel better about.
Justin Verlander seemed to regain his mojo in Cleveland, striking out eight in seven innings and giving up two runs. His mechanical tweak may have thrown off the Indians, who are used to seeing the ball out of his hand in a certain way, so it may take four or five starts for Tiger fans to truly breathe easy on the Verlander issue.
The Tigers were able to pull out of their offensive slump, which was more of a slump of the bats not coming up in big spots.
Cabrera came up big in extra innings with a long double in the second game of the set. Kinsler started a 12 batter rally in game three of the series, during which the Tiger bats truly came alive. There was aggressive baseball, there was well-timed offense, and it may be a safe assumption that #brad ausmus slept easy on the flight to Arlington.
#phil coke struck out the side for a 10th inning save, touching 97 mph multiple times while continuing to show signs that he was pulling out of his early season struggles, and Joba Chamberlain continued his steady season.
Blaine Hardy at Pat McCoy were both effective as well in their appearances, and while the bullpen is in repair mode, there are signs of life.
Tiger fans can breathe easy. While it may not be rainbows and butterflies from this point on out, there is reason for optimism that this team is indeed a playoff team.