Heat stroke must be getting to Tigers and Red Sox fans. They think their teams are in trouble.
The Detroit Tigers have pretty much been decimating the competition to the point where they have more wins than any other team. But suddenly the Tigers lost two of three games to division rival Minnesota at home.
Meanwhile, somewhere on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, Bostonians are freaking out. For the Boston Red Sox lost five straight games after losing two of their last three games against Cleveland and getting swept by, um, (whispers) Kansas City. Boston hasn't won a series since July 26, when they won two of three at Oakland.
Most alarming is the dazzling rookie closer Jonathan Papelbon, whose ERA — after a couple of unimpressive outings — has ballooned to almost 1.00. One! Gasp!
Eric Wilbur of the Boston Herald is analyzing past trends to indicate that the outlook ain't so good for the Crimson Footwear. And the Toledo Blade cartoonist Kirk Walters depicts fans who just don't wanna talk about the Tigers' winning, ok? Or else, you know, they'll jinx 'em. They'll lose games because of what they said.
All right, settle down, boys. No one's self-destructing this year. (Well, someone will. But Boston and Detroit won't.)
Detroit will be just fine next week, when their eight-game homestand begins against the Rangers and White Sox. They may get beat up a little bit on a road trip to the multicolored socks of Chicago and Boston, but they'll come home with a fresh outlook on life and smack around the Rangers, who usually taper off around this time of the year, and the White Sox, upon whom they'll exact revenge.
Detroit has three guys in the dugout with World Series bling: manager Jim Leyland, catcher Ivan Rodriguez, and pitcher Kenny Rogers. Although their combined age is 306 it won't stop them each from continuing their respective strong seasons through the end of the year, and they'll help the rookies through the longest season of the young'uns' careers.
Boston will be just fine next weekend. Starting on Friday August 18 and lasting through Monday, the Sox play a five-game series against the Yankees. In Boston. Yep, five games. So what? if the Sawx lost five of six against the D-Rays and Royals? They're spoiler teams playing for pride. Winning four games against the Yankees in Boston will surely diminish the gap between the two and could even bolt the Red Sox ahead of their pinstriped foes.
That could also be the series Sox catcher Jason Varitek returns from his injury. This is purely speculation, but after all it's 16 days after Varitek was put on the 15-day DL. What better way to get back into shape than to punch Alex Rodriguez for no reason?
Both teams have been living dangerously by winning close games against bad teams. Detroit swept Cleveland with three one-run victories and two walk-off home runs. Boston also had two walk-off victories, also against Cleveland. That kind of play never lasts, and Fausto Carmona doesn't pitch for every team.
Thankfully they have perfect opportunities to continue the good vibrations against bullpens without Chief Wahoo on their jerseys.
But both managers — the aforementioned Jim Leyland and Sox skipper Terry Francona — have the shiny gold rings to show they can lead a team to 11 postseason victories.
So Detroit, I know you're afraid of me saying this (and if you are then close the window) but feel free reserve your tickets for Tigers postseason baseball today.
As for Boston, their October plans are by no means secure. They're battling Chicago and Minnesota for the Wild Card, as well as New York and Toronto for that dang division title. However the team's not even close to imploding. And if they don't win their fourth straight Wild Card, it won't be because of a collapse. It will be due to a photo finish between five teams fighting for two playoff spots.