The Detroit Tigers have quickly taken the reins of the AL Central. While other teams around the division have struggled, Detroit has battled through their schedule with ease.
With just 12 losses, the Tigers are cruising. Everyone else has at-least 20 losses, including the Chicago White Sox who have lost 22 games and are 7.0 games back.
Let’s explore the reasons why Detroit has shown that they can win this division with ease.
They have an 11-4 record on the road.
It’s clear that Brad Ausmus‘ team isn’t worried about traveling, and while they don’t embrace it like Joe Maddon’s team, they do one thing right: win. They have picked up sweeps in their last two road trips (eight straight road wins), beating the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals pretty handily. Don’t look now, but this team is poised to become one of the best traveling teams in the AL.
Max Scherzer is dealing.
With his 5-1 record and 2.04 ERA, Scherzer is showing that he can be as effective as fellow starter Justin Verlander. He has three shutout starts on the year, and he’s struck out 66 batters in 53 innings. If I’m a hitter, the last thing I want to do is face this guy when he’s hot – which seems like every outing.
Victor Martinez has been the DH they need.
When a hitter is labeled as a designated hitter, they’re expected to produce in every aspect at the plate. For Martinez, that hasn’t been a problem. He’s hitting .336 with nine homeruns this season. He’s picked up a .387 on-base percentage. He’s struck out just eight times all season, the lowest number amongst the every-day lineup guys.
This weekend, Ausmus’ team is hosting the Texas Rangers for a four-game set. If they can come out on top, they could easily extend their lead in the division to seven or eight full games. With rivals around the division not playing their best baseball, the Tigers must capitalize now.