August 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm


Fair or Foul: Tigers keeping AL Central rivals' playoff dreams alive

Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers lost three of four games in their series against the Yankees, which ended Thursday. (Kathy Willens / Associated Press)

Tom Gage was in New York this week and will be going to Pittsburgh. Lynn Henning is in Toronto. That’s how they are dividing the Tigers’ three-city trip.

It’s not all they’re dividing.

Gage will report the “uh” if needed and Henning is in charge of the proverbial “oh” — so if the Tigers don’t start scoring runs on a more consistent basis, the first “uh-oh” you’ll hear will be coming from them.

In fact, are they saying it already?

Gage: Don’t know about Lynn, but I am. How it is that Kansas City just won’t go away is beyond me. But more power to them. The Royals don’t have the rotation the Tigers have and they don’t have the lineup the Tigers have — or at least the lineup I think the Tigers have. So you tell me, Mr. Henning, sir, what the heck is going on?

Henning: Tigers are letting everybody but the Twins dream about October. Thought in March that 87-75 would win this division and still think so, which means the Royals, Indians and even the White Sox can at least fantasize. Tigers should have the Central in their pocket. Instead, it’s in play.

Gage: But this is why I’m saying “uh-oh,” Lynn. I still think the Tigers are going to win the division and I think they’ll win it easily, at least more easily than they’re making it on themselves currently.

The way they’ve been so herky-jerky with their offense, though, isn’t instilling their fan base with the confidence they can make it through the entire postseason without hitting a wall.

I don’t think there’s been a rougher series on Twitter for the Tigers all year than the Yankees series. They made Chris Capuano look like Whitey Ford.

Henning: Yeah, the in-and-out nature of this offense is bewildering. A lot of it has to do with Miguel Cabrera’s power being so compromised by his recovery. Another factor of late: no Austin Jackson. Those two hits he was getting every game would have been helpful at Yankee Stadium.

Gage: So far, Jackson hasn’t gotten two hits per game for Seattle, that’s for sure. But I think he was more stunned, and disappointed, to get traded than he let on. Could take him a while to fully adjust.

On to other things: What do you make of the Jim Johnson experiment at Toledo? I saw Johnson in the Tigers’ clubhouse in New York, but he elected not to comment. I guess there’s not much for him to talk about unless, or until, he turns it around.

Henning: Not sure why he couldn’t have discussed his decision to go with the Tigers. What’s interesting is the Tigers say his arm is fine, which means there was zero downside and potentially a steal here — if they can get him straightened out. With relievers, so often that can be the case.

Gage: How many times have you seen Ezequiel Carrera’s great catch?

Where does that rank on your list of all-time great Tigers plays? And do you happen to remember one that Chet Lemon made in Anaheim in 1983 to rob Rod Carew of a home run and end the game? Lemon’s still might be the best I’ve ever seen. But Carrera’s was amazing, no question.

Henning: It was in the realm of that Mickey Stanley catch of Tom McCraw’s drive at Chicago in ’68. Yes, saw the Lemon grab and that’s a top-five. The best ever for me, nearly, was the one Jackson almost made in New York in 2012 on Curtis Granderson’s home run. Came within a bumped railing post of being beyond belief.

Gage: And here we are already, final question time: With the season’s last major at the midway point, will Tiger Woods ever win another major? I say yes, one. Next year, but not sure which one.

Henning: Am beginning, finally, to think not on Tiger. Age and his ever-expanding list of physical ills have really socked it to him. Also: His short game is such a poor imitation of what it once was. He looks as if he is permanently broken. Six years, and perhaps seven, without a major? Most astonishing tumble of our time by a sports demigod.