DETROIT – The year is 2021, and the Detroit Tigers are in second place in the American League Central Division.
With their third-straight victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, the Tigers pulled into a tie with the Cleveland Indians. Technically, the Tigers lead by .00045 percentage points.
Second place isn’t going to get the Tigers anywhere close to the playoffs, and the Chicago White Sox have locked up the division, but this is still a remarkable achievement for Detroit.
Over the last four seasons, the Tigers were the worst team in all of baseball twice, the third-worst team once and the fifth-worst team once. There weren’t any real signs of progress.
This year started out looking even worse. After a dreadful 3-18 stretch that dropped them to 9-24 on May 7, the Tigers were the worst team in MLB by 3.5 games. It looked like they were heading for another No. 1 overall pick.
Since then, the team has gone 48-36 -- more than a half-season’s worth of games playing at a .571 clip.
Considering the Tigers have been without Matt Boyd and Spencer Turnbull for most of the season, it’s mind-blowing what A.J. Hinch and his staff have managed to squeeze out of this group.
Heading into this weekend’s series against the Indians, the Tigers can grab sole possession of second place by winning two out of three. They’re also within three games of .500 for the first time since April 17.
Even though it’s not quite a pennant race, baseball fans in Detroit appreciate this team. Everyone is hungry for the city to have a winner.
The Tigers really do have something to play for, and thankfully, for the first time in years, it’s not draft position.