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Let the sleeping Tigers lie

Posted at 11:52 AM on April 15, 2008 by Than Tibbetts

20080415_pudge_tigers.jpgI wasn't aware of it, but apparently there is an obscure MLB rule that allowed Detroit Manager Jim Leyland to substitute his entire team in the sixth inning.

Leyland swapped in the team that was — and is? — supposed to win the World Series this year (you know, the team that makes $139 million), and pulled out the team that was receiving unflattering comparisons to the 2003 Tigers (you know, the team that narrowly missed the playoffs by losing 119 games).

I was reading Joe C.'s recap of last night's game and I remembered that the 1991 World Champion Twins also began the year with a paltry record, losing their seventh game in row on April 20th to go to 2-9. They didn't get back to .500 until May 7th (note: the Tigers season started their season more than a week earlier than the '91 Twins), finished the year with 95 wins, eight games ahead of the nearest competition in West Division.

Can the Tigers climb back to the top of the division? Who knows, especially if the White Sox remain competitive and the Royals pitching staff keeps praying to the ghost of Cy Young. The Twins could even buck expectations, provided their pitching stays consistent and the offense quits praying to the fleshy ghost of Nick Punto.

So, is this the Tigers awakening? Perhaps, but it's probably a sure thing that they'll win more than two of their next 12 games.

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