If the Tigers don’t make the playoffs, their play against the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals will be only partly to blame.
The Tigers will also have to point toward their inability to win one-run games and road games.
In their last 14 one-run games, they are 3-11, five of those by a 3-2 score.
“We lost three ball games, but we centered some balls pretty good this series,” manager Jim Leyland told MLB.com. “We hit some balls pretty good to the gaps, and everywhere we hit it they were there, to their credit.
“It wasn’t like our bats were anemic. I thought we actually swung the bats pretty good. We didn’t have much to show for it because they made every possible play they could.”
The Angels have three players — four if you include Peter Bourjos — who are tremendous defensive outfielders in Mike Trout, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells.
The magic offensive number for the Tigers seems to be five. In games in which they have scored five or more runs, the Tigers are 52-12. In games in which they have scored four or fewer, they are 21-54. That’s a big difference.
In their last 13 road games, the Tigers are 4-9.
These are numbers that aren’t going to get it done down the stretch.
In addition to the four games in Chicago this week, they have three in Cleveland over the weekend before returning home for 10 games. The Tigers then finish on the road with three in Minnesota and three in Kansas City.
Monday: INDIANS 3, Tigers 2. Corey Kluber got his first major league win at the Tigers’ expense, despite the fact that the Indians came in with just one road win in their previous 19 road games. Anibal Sanchez was the hard-luck loser.
Tuesday: INDIANS 3, Tigers 2. Once again, the Tigers wasted a good outing by Rick Porcello, who allowed just three runs in 5 2/3 innings, en route to his fifth straight loss. Justin Masterson mastered the Tigers’ hitters, except for Miguel Cabrera, who had a two-run homer for his 34th of the season.
Wednesday: TIGERS 7, Indians 1. Doug Fister was near the top of his game, holding down the Indians until his teammates could break through for some runs. That came in the seventh inning, when they scored five runs. Cabrera gave him the early lead with another two-run homer.
Thursday: Off day.
Friday: ANGELS 3, Tigers 2. Max Scherzer was good again and the Tigers’ bats were quiet again. It was Alberto Callaspo’s pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the ninth that sealed the Tigers’ fate. Ervin Santana did well in place of Jered Weaver, who has right biceps tendinitis.
Saturday: ANGELS 6, Tigers 1. Justin Verlander had another outing that was reminiscent of his last poor outing in Kansas City Aug. 28. The Angels scored four runs in the first inning, jumping on Verlander’s early-game slower fastballs.
Sunday: ANGELS 3, Tigers 2. For the second time this week, Sanchez was a hard-luck loser in a 3-2 loss. Mike Trout led off the game with a homer, just as he did Saturday.
Prince Fielder: No Tiger hit the cover off the ball this past week, but Fielder hit .300 with a 1.117 OPS.
Anibal Sanchez: Sanchez had nothing to show for it, but he had a 2.08 ERA in his two starts. All he needs now is a little run support.
Justin Verlander: No one ever expects to see Verlander in this category, but giving up six earned runs in six innings (9.00 ERA) is not what the Tigers need right now.
Andy Dirks: Dirks had plenty of at-bats this past week but managed just two hits for a .100 average. Of course one of the hits was a home run.
Monday: Tigers (Rick Porcello) at White Sox (Jose Quintana), 8:10 p.m.
Tuesday: Tigers (Doug Fister) at White Sox (Jake Peavy), 8:10 p.m.
Wednesday: Tigers (Max Scherzer) at White Sox (Francisco Liriano), 8:10 p.m.
Thursday: Tigers (Justin Verlander) at White Sox (Chris Sale), 8:10 p.m.
Friday: Tigers (Anibal Sanchez) at Indians (Corey Kluber), 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Tigers (Rick Porcello) at Indians (Justin Masterson), 4:05 p.m.
Sunday: Tigers (Doug Fister) at Indians (Ubaldo Jimenez), 3:05 p.m.