September 21, 2012
Before the start of the 2012 MLB season, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Detroit Tigers both made big splashes in the free agent market to solidify them as teams to be heard from (The Angels signed first baseman Albert Pujols and pitcher C.J Wilson, while the Tigers locked up first baseman Prince Fielder long-term). With a little bit more than a week and a half left in the season, both the Angels and Tigers find themselves in grave danger of missing the playoffs. The Angels trail the American League West leading Texas Rangers by 8.5 games and more importantly, trail the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles by 4.5 games in the race for one of the two spots in the AL Wild Card. The Tigers trail the Chicago White Sox by 2 games in the AL Central and are g games behind the Athletics and Orioles for the AL Wild Card. Missing the playoffs was definitely not what the Angels and Tigers had in mind when they made their splashes in free agency this off-season. If you ask me, I would say the Tigers are probably the more disappointing story than the Angels are. I’ve always said no matter what the Angels did in the off-season, the Rangers are still the team to beat in the AL West and in the American League altogether. So the fact the Rangers are leading the division doesn’t surprise me at all. What is surprising is the Athletics have a better record than the Angels. When you look at the Tigers, it’s hard to understand them trailing the White Sox when you consider the fact Detroit won the AL Central by 15 games last season, before they even added Fielder into the mix (I was one of those people who thought the Tigers would run away with the division as well). Give credit to the White Sox for hanging in and giving themselves a chance to steal this division. Individually, the stars have stepped up for the Angels and Tigers. Pujols has 30 home runs (HR) and 96 runs batted in (RBIs), and outfielder Mike Trout has been a force ever since he was called up to the major leagues from the minors. For the Tigers, Fielder has checked in with 27 HRs and 101 RBIs, and third baseman Miguel Cabrera might win the triple crown this year. One of the problems are neither team is getting enough help from the rest of the lineup to support their stars. Another problem is neither team is getting the pitching they expected to help out their respective aces. The Angels have seen inconsistency behind Jared Weaver, while the Tigers’ pitching has been suspect at best behind defending AL Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander. It sounds bad for both teams, but it’s not over yet. Both the Angels and Tigers have a chance to make the playoffs. It’s time for those big money free agents to step up and show why they make the big bucks. The fact these teams are on the bubble goes to show you big spending doesn’t mean you’re going to win the World Series. If the Angels and Tigers fall short of the playoffs, you can expect another explosive off season for the Angels and Tigers.
By Charles Taylor