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The Road Less Travailed

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Two road trips diverged in a pennant race
and sorry we dropped two of three
And be in the AL Central, long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
to see the White Sox two games back;

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere in October hence:
Two road trips diverged in a wood, and I —

I took the one less travailed by,
and that has made all the difference
(In not reaching the postseason)

— Robert Frost, if he were alive today and became a Detroit Tigers fan

Because it's a weak division, the Tigers remain in first place (and have been since May!) despite being a woeful 13 games below .500 on the road (25-38). Only one other team in the Wild Card era reached the playoffs with such a poor record: the 2006 Cardinals (34-47). The irony is that that those Cards actually beat the Tigers in the World Series, proving that just being one of the eight teams in the playoffs is all that matters.

Forget division leaders. Of any teams with playoff aspirations, the Tigers have the worst road record. Even Cleveland has done better everywhere else. The last time the Tigers weren't beat in a road series was June 8-11, when they took three of five from the White Sox. Since then, they're 9-22 in 10 series. Gak.

Now for the good news, also known in the business as "selective optimism" — After the Tigers finish out their next series, a three-gamer against the Angels, they will no longer have to trek any further west than Missouri in the regular season. The rest of the season will consist of 15 more road games and 21 in Comerica Park. Plus, it's not like the White Sox (27-31) or Twins (28-36) have been doing much better staying in hotels.

Finishing the season with a 34-47 record at this juncture would actually be great for Detroit's playoff chances. That means they'll go 9-9 and, omigod, actually win a couple series. This is an entirely different, yet similar, Quest For .500 than the Diamondbacks are pursuing.

Should any other Robert Frost poems relate to Detroit's pennant run, you'll be the first to know. For Walt Whitman, however, you're on your own.

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