Fear not/The Red Line
Depending upon the source, the phrase ‘fear not’ or some derivative thereof appears roughly 100 times in the King James Bible.
It appears zero times in the sports section.
With the escapades of saints (Tim Tebow) and sinners (Aaron Hernandez), The Ballad of Johnny Football and a steroids witch hunt that Arthur Miller would have found ridiculous, it is nearly a relief to hear open kvetching about actual events between the lines.
And though I haven’t heard much complaining about the Tigers this week in the midst of what has been a poor home series against the A’s, I’m fairly confident the only reason this is so is because I’ve been too busy working on the Kickoff 2013 section that is in today’s paper.
But let’s nip this line of conversation in the bud right away: The AL Central race is not over, but there is no need to panic about the Tigers.
The first and most important bit of data can be found on page 2B in the scoreboard section. No, I’m not talking about the new video coach for the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Senators, but rather the American League standings.
You will note, even after the Tigers’ third straight loss to Oakland, their lead stands at 5 1/2 games, which is the largest lead of the three American League division.
Boston, which has probably played the best of any American League team this year, is just 2 1/2 ahead of Tampa and still facing at least a hint of a challenge from Baltimore and maybe even the Yankees, at least in the mind of a large batch of delusionals in the Bronx, specifically the ones not named Alex Rodriguez.
In the east, Texas leads by 2 1/2 over this Oakland team, which is good and has something of a history of September rallies. Remember last year?
Anyhow, the Tigers are up 5 1/2 games. This means the Tigers would basically have to do a solid week of additional screwing up to lose the lead.
Mathematically, ESPN has calculated the Tigers as having a 97.1 percent chance of making the postseason.
And who’s chasing them? Cleveland? Let us remember this is a ballclub that still employs Jason Giambi and his .185 batting average. Closer Chris Perez hasn’t said anything stupid to the press lately, only because he stopped speaking to them earlier in the summer.
The No. 1 starter is Ubaldo Jimenez, whose last outing with less than two walks took place on June 1.
Oh, and lest we forget, they just signed Ryan Raburn.
Kansas City, which just got swept by the White Sox last weekend, is above .500 but there’s nothing to see there.
Fun fact: at plus-158, the Tigers have the best run differential in the majors. That’s the sort of dominance that doesn’t disappear overnight.
This could be a rough patch coming up, with Cleveland coming to town, followed by a trip to Fenway Park, where the Tigers rarely play well. After that, Detroit has zero remaining games against contenders and plays only one opponent (Kansas City) with a winning record.
It’s probably going to be all right.
Besides, isn’t it time to start worrying about the Packers and/or Lions? I mean, if Aaron Rodgers doesn’t take enough preseason snaps his arm could fall off or something.
Brandon Veale can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/redveale.