Pat Caputo: Tigers Proving It’s Not Just About The Kids

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A tease? Perhaps. Misleading? We’ll see.

The Tigers are in the midst of a playoff chase with 28 games to go.

There should be no complaints.

It is meaningful. The organization has regained a degree of respect and subsequently attention. The Tigers have won seven of nine games against playoff worthy teams - Cleveland, the Cubs and Twins - after a nine-game losing streak.

Right there is competitive character.

Last season, the Tigers won less than 30 percent of 161 games. It’s calculated to 17.5 over 60 games. The Tigers are 16-16 with 28 games remaining.

That’s the glass as half-full. The half-empty view is the Tigers were 15-17 after 32 games in 2019.

The pandemic-shortened season is uncharted territory, especially with an expanded playoff format that puts more than half of MLB in the field.

The Tigers, just two games behind Toronto for the final postseason spot, shouldn’t be merely dismissed, though.

A number of players have made strides. It was worth it to keep Victor Reyes as a Rule 5 Draft selection.

Jeimer Candelario might turn out to be an excellent trade deadline acquisition, after all. The Tigers needed good surprises from their minor league system. Spencer Turnbull and Gregory Soto have provided them.

It’s a really good development that Miguel Cabrera has surged the last week. For better or worse, Miggy is going to be here awhile. Might as well be for the better.

Matthew Boyd has come on his last two starts.

The Tigers are doing much better analytically. Off-season free agents Jonathan Schoop and Austin Romine have been difference makers. The Tigers have been much better positioned in the field and won their share of matchups.

Much of the credit should go to manager Ron Gardenhire. There is an incredibly difficult landscape to this season. The short summer camp, constant schedule changes, injuries, a nine-game losing streak, social unrest, dealing with the pandemic changes -- Gardenhire has proven invaluable.

Winning Sunday was especially important because it turned Casey Mize’s struggles into a sidebar instead of the lead. The Tigers’ celebrated top prospects need room to grow.

Of course, a club can gain or lose remarkably rapidly in this weird year. The Tigers have seen two upswings and one down. Milwaukee will be difficult this week. The Twins will undoubtedly be seeking revenge on the weekend.

If nothing else, the Tigers have shown they are more than just about the kids. There gets to be a point where an organization gets beaten down by constant losing.

The Tigers got to that danger point.

It could be they are recovering.