|The unlikely closer: Bobby Seay has done wonderful with the job.|
For those that may have not been following, here is a brief description how the season has played out. We put together a 53-33 record at the All-Star Break, we were only a game ahead of the actual team's record, but have fared better against out division rival Cleveland Indians -- Our goal was to reverse history and win the division from the tribe; We had a 5 game division lead at the break.
The rest of July was not so kind to the Tigers, and August started out far worse. At one point, we lost nine straight, and shortly after had a five-game losing streak that gave us a record of 64-56 -- meaning we went 11-23 since the break!
Also after Game #120, we were 2 games behind the actual Tigers. The fact that we also played poorly against the Minnesota Twins, at Game #130 we fell to 3rd place! Something the actual 2007 Tigers did not do no later than April 29th.
Than just when we thought things were not looking good at 68-62, my Tigers would win 11 straight! While looking over at Cleveland's record the rest of the way, I realized that the division was definitely lost to Cleveland...
I could still have a shot at that American League Wild Card spot.
I could no longer do any damage against the New York Yankees, we both split the season series at 4-4, just like they did in real life -- which means no difference in their win differential, which means no matter what the Yankees will finish 94-68.
To at least force a one-game playoff against these Yankees, and just coming off my 11th consecutive victory (defeating the Mariners) after Game #141, putting my record at 79-62... I would have to go 15-6 the rest of the way, mind you we just done this same 15-6 stretch after sitting at 64-56 --- so basically I had to win 30 of my last 42 games to force a one-game playoff, or win 31 (going 16-5 in my last 21 to win the spot outright)!
I think prior to the 11-game winning streak, shortly after our series with Tampa Bay is when I decided to go with a four-man rotation here on out (giving more opportunities for my ace Grade B-X Justin Verlander), and give Bobby Seay the full-time closing job over Todd Jones. This strategy helped me get in the neighborhood of trying to pull off what seemed impossible at one point.
I remember posting this situation and goal to others on APBA Facebook Group -- Everyone agreed, including my brother Chris, that I had a tall task to accomplish. Worst come to worst, I can try to do better than Jim Leyland at least.
Inside the first three games, it appeared the team stumbled, the 11-game winning streak came to an end, and I would lose 2 of my next 3 -- losing to Toronto, in a 14-0 (Roy Halladay was excellent) pounding, put our record at 80-64 (We can only lose 4 games tops at this point).
We would sweep Texas, that included a tough extra inning win in Game #147. We would then win 2 of 3 from Minnesota, and surprisingly we would win 2 of 3 from Cleveland. With 9 games left, we would have to win 7 of our last 9 -- than Kansas City did the unfortunate against us, and won their series 2-1... Leaving us no margin of error, one loss and we are officially eliminated.
Our backs, once again against the wall...
I would chronicle our series against KC and then the rally we started in my previous post called This Is It -- click on it and check it out, if you haven't (or just scroll down).
We had to face the Minnesota Twins for another three-game series in Detroit, and then go to Chicago and sweep them as well -- to finish 6-0 to force the one-game playoff. If you read the above link, you would notice we pulled off the sweep against the Twins, now the White Sox.
One more game, one more win & we force what seemed to be the impossible at one point... but for now, you'll have to wait and see...
I will give away one spoiler, it was quite the see-saw match-up!