Baseball wagering expectations were high for Detroit at the break but the losing streak with the baseball odds put them 3.5 games behind first place Chicago.
The American League Central Division race looked to be wide open with the Tigers, Chicago White Sox, and Minnesota Twins all looking to take the title. Last year Detroit and Minnesota tied for the top in the regular season with the Twins beating the Tigers in a one-game playoff to settle the issue.
Some handicappers would argue that Detroit was winning with mirrors in the first place and that they were not a legitimate quality contender as they ranked just 18th overall in the major leagues for run production while ranking 23rd overall for staff earned run average.
Both aspects of the game were the problem in the slump as the offense scored more than 3 runs just once while the pitching staff held the opposition to 4 runs or less just twice.
“It probably will be like last year,” said Detroit manager Jim Leyland. “We all will do pretty good, then flounder around a little bit, then do pretty good. Then at some point – hopefully it will be us – somebody will probably make a run, kind of how Minnesota did. That will probably end up deciding it.”
One problem for Detroit in the immediate future is coming up with a replacement for the injured Brandon Inge as the third baseman will be out until around Labor Day with a broken hand after being hit by a pitch.
Detroit has had a similar MLB gambling pattern during Leyland’s tenure in which they had a .500 or better record at the All Star break only to play losing baseball in the season’s second half.
“It’s probably different every year,” said Leyland. “Two of those years, it wasn’t what we wanted, but we still went to the World Series (2006) and played the 163rd game for the Championship (2009).”
Detroit All Star first baseman Miguel Cabrera took some of the blame for the team’s baseball wagering struggles after the break. He went 2-14 in a series at Cleveland in which the Tigers were swept.
“I didn’t do my job,” said Cabrera. “What I and we need to do is look in the mirror, turn it around, play more relaxed and make something happen.”