Nobody wants to assume the worst, but let’s just assume the worst: the Tigers crumble in the 2nd half, don’t win their division, absolutely do not win the Wild Card, and Brandon Inge, Ryan Raburn, Jim Leyland, and Dave Dombrowski all still have jobs with the Tigers next season. A doomsday scenario, if you ask me; like doubling down on 16 in blackjack.
The Tigers kicked off the “2nd half” of their season yesterday with a loss to the slimy Chicago White Sox that reminded me of 2008, when Justin Verlander giving up 5 runs to the White Sox was normal. (I put “2nd half” in quotes because the 2nd half of the season technically started June 30, but for purposes of using Baseball Reference’s handy-dandy 1st half, 2nd half splits, let’s just say for the rest of this post that the 2nd half comes after the All-Star break even though the number of games don’t line up from year-to-year).
Let us take a look at the Tigers in the 2nd half under Jim Leyland’s regime (1st half records in parentheticals):
2006: 36-38 (59-29); L in World Series (violent shiver)
2007: 36-40 (52-32); no playoffs
2008: 21-41 (47-47); hell no, no playoffs
2009: 38-38 (48-39); L in Game 163 (cold shudder)
2010: 33-43 (48-38); no playoffs
2011: 0-1 (49-43); ?????????
As you can see, the Tigers have gotten progressively worse with Jim Leyland’s tarred lungs and developing dementia (let’s not underestimate that). If I was Allen Iverson and I were to play casino at MGM, (I’m not, but I do), then I feel like a pretty safe bet would be to ride it all on the Tigers doing exactly the same thing in the 2nd half of 2011. What do we have this year to believe that it’ll be any different? Victor Martinez? (Okay, that’s actually not a bad answer…) I’d probably bet Brandon Inge’s batting average on it.
There’s a lot that needs to be hoped and prayed for. Hopefully Max Scherzer’s blue eye starts glistening more than his poopy brown eye. Hopefully Rick Porcello stops being such a pretty boy and starts getting downright nasty. Hopefully Justin Verlander’s superhero cape wasn’t given away during the world’s lamest promotion. Hopefully Carlos Guillen can stay in one piece and actually help out. And most of all hopefully the bullpen starts doing the starters some favors, and I’m not talking about carrying their pink back packs and picking up their seed shells. (Jose Valverde, you just keep dancing, baby.) Dombrowski needs to make a move unlike his last 13 or so and Jim Leyland needs to just keep smoking cigarettes and stop bitching about people bitching about the lineup. That’s a whole lot, maybe hope in one hand and poop in the other and see what turns up first. You’ll probably get craps and if you’re gambling on the Tigers doing something different this year from the past 5 seasons, that’s not the term you want to hear. Sowwy.