Some Tigers fans thought the team knocked themselves out of the AL Central race when they suffered a four-game road sweep against the Cleveland Indians after the All-Star break. More of them surely wrote the Tigers off once Magglio Ordonez was lost for the season with a broken ankle. (That feeling grew when Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge also suffered significant injuries.)
As the team struggled to stay competitive with a largely replacement lineup and an inconsistent pitching staff, the Minnesota Twins pulled far out of reach, building a first-place lead of more than 10 games. It was over. And it has been for a while.
There are a few out there who just won't give up unless their team is mathematically eliminated. Hey, whatever keeps you watching. I certainly understand the desire to keep baseball interesting through the dog days of August and the apathy of September. Especially if you're not a football fan.
But even the most optimistic of Tigers fans now have to cede to reality.
The Twins' 4-2 win over Oakland yesterday put them ahead of Detroit by 15 games. Only 14 games remain on the 2009 schedule. You can do the math from there. It's now mathematically impossible for the Tigers to reach a tie for first place. There will be no Game 163 in the AL Central for the third year in a row.
So there you have it, Tigers fans. That's the 2010 season. It had its ups, and so many downs. If you were curious how so many of the Tigers prospects might look in the majors, this was the year for you. And no matter what, we'll always have that perfect game (which we all know was really a perfect game) by Armando Galarraga, right?