Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
While I'm as optimistic that the Tigers can keep it together, much like any Tiger supporter is, the fact is that the two teams the Tigers are trying to catch are showing few signs of letting up. Should the Tigers sweep the Indians, their chances obviously shift significantly. But, the Yankees have an easy remaining two weeks, including six games against the Orioles and three games the Rays. In other words, for the Tigers to make it, the Yankees are going to have slip up against inferior competition, and with a team like that, it's just not something I'd wager on. Come October 1, I expect the Tigers will be cleaning out their lockers, and the front office will be planning for 2008.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
I'm so torn on a question like this. The fan inside of me wants to believe the Tigers can accomplish the most impossible of tasks and vault themselves into the playoffs. On the other hand, the realist and analyst inside of me doesn't see much hope for such a miracle.
The Tigers have done an admirable job closing ground on both the Yankees and Indians over the last 8-10 days, but it just may not be enough, as all three teams are playing superb baseball right now. The Yankees are demonstrating just what an explosive offense can accomplish late in tight games, while the Indians are pitching their way to an AL Central title. The Tigers burned themselves with a horrid stretch of baseball through much of July and August. Had they not dug such a deep hole, I'd be far more optimistic.
In the end, the Tigers have a slim window to sneak through and get back into the playoffs; unfortunately that window remaining open is very much out of their hands (even moreso after this three game set with Cleveland). I think the Tigers will end up just missing the postseason, by a matter of only a couple games in each race.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I'm hopeful that the Tigers will defy the odds and make the playoffs, but I don't see it happening. After the Tigers lost to Jon Garland and the White Sox on September 4, they were 3 1/2 games back and had Seattle in front of them in the wild card race.
The Tigers have turned things around by going 10-2 in their last 12 games, which one would think that would allow them to make up some ground, but they have made up exactly one game on the Yankees in the wild card standings because New York has also gotten hot, and they have a very favorable schedule over the last two weeks of the season.
The Tigers have actually had more success in gaining ground on Cleveland in the division over the last two weeks, although they gained just 2 1/2 games (from 7 to 4 1/2 back heading into Monday) due to the Indians playing solid baseball down the stretch.
If the Tigers are going to continue their run, their best shot will be at catching Cleveland, but they must sweep the Indians to have any chance at the division. Otherwise, even if the Tigers repeat their recent stretch by going 10-2 in their final 12 games, they would have to hope the Yankees go 8-5 in their final 13 games (nine of which are against the lowly Orioles and Devil Rays) just to force a playoff in the Bronx, and I don't like those chances
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