I’m mad at myself more than anyone else.
After the Tigers beat the Twins on Monday night — in a game that the Twins traditionally have won in the past — I thought: maybe this is the turning point. Maybe this is when the Tigers overcome whatever mental block that stands in the way of them a) beating the Twins, and b) beating the Twins in Minnesota.
Even Joel Zumaya’s season-ending injury couldn’t temper my enthusiasm. After all, the Twins lost their closer, Joe Nathan, in spring training and they’ve been in first place virtually all year.
And then — poof — along comes Tuesday…and then Wednesday and, darn it, reality.
I’ve long contended that the Tigers’ true rival in the Central division is the White Sox. After last year, though, I began to think the Twins were gaining ground as the Tigers’ chief nemesis.
(By the by, since 2004, Chicago is 23 games over .500 against the Tigers; the Twins are 10 games over.)
Right now the Tigers can’t solve the Twins. Nor can they do much with the White Sox. With just a game and a half separating these three teams, and the inconvenient truth about the Tigers’ recent history against Chicago and Minnesota, the smart money can’t be on Detroit winning the division.
My thinking might change if the Tigers make a trade that alters the Central’s landscape. If it’s the Twins or White Sox that make a splash, it is, in the words of my podcast co-host, game over for Detroit.