Secret to the Tigers? Their stars played like stars.
Every general manager begins a season with the assumption that his best players will be productive, and that’s probably the thing that carried the Detroit Tigers through some tough times this season. Even though they didn’t get above .500 for good until the 85th game of the season, even though they didn’t finally pass the White Sox for good until the 155th, the Tigers were good enough to stay close. And they were good enough because of their best guys.
That’s one of the first things Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski pointed out Thursday night after his team had won the American League pennant for the second time in seven seasons. Miguel Cabrera won the American League Triple Crown. Justin Verlander led the AL in innings and strikeouts.
Prince Fielder put up tremendous numbers: .313 batting average, 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, .940 OPS.
Wait, there’s more. In the second half of the season, Verlander, Doug Fister and Max Scherzer were all top five in the American League in ERA.
The Tigers had some injuries, and they ultimately made changes at second base and in the outfield. But their stars kept them competitive and have gotten them within four victories of their first World Series victory in 28 years.