Six wins in a row for the Detroit Tigers. That’s not a typo. It’s been a while since the Tigers were getting accolades instead of being the punch line to a bad joke. The Tigers are the hottest team in baseball right now, and the owners of the league’s longest active winning streak. The New York Mets and Washington Nationals are the two worst teams in the National League East. They’re playing themselves out of the postseason picture with their latest losing streaks.
The Washington Nationals (12-21) and the New York Mets (15-21) are getting their butts spanked at the start of the second half of the season. The Nats, the defending World Series champs, dropped four in a row and currently occupy the NL East cellar. The next-to-last place Mets lost five in a row, including three straight to their crosstown rival in the Bronx.
Over in the AL Central, the Chicago White Sox (22-14) seized first place ahead of the Cleveland Indians (21-14). Meanwhile, the Detroit Tigers (17-16) are only 3.5 games out of first place, and are riding high with six wins in a row.
According to a recent update by DraftKings, the Mets are 40/1 odds to win the 2020 World Series. The last-place Nationals slipped to 50/1 odds. The Tigers are 300/1 to win the World Series and are grouped together with the long shots on the board, such as the Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals, and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Tiger Town, Postseason Pipe Dream?
Who would have thought the Tigers would be north of .500 through 33 games this season? The Tigers were among a handful of teams competing for the title of worst squad in the American League.
After flirting with championship dreams in the early 2010s with Justin Verlander anchoring their rotation, the Tigers posted one winning season since 2015. They lost at least 98 games over three consecutive seasons, including a puke-inducing 114 losses in 2019.
The Tigers swept the Minnesota Twins over the weekend to pull even at 16-16. On Tuesday, Victor Reyes went 4-for-6 with a home run and five RBI as the Tigers crushed the Milwaukee Brewers 12-1 to move over .500.
“Our goal is to try to get in the playoffs,” said manager Ron Gardenhire. “I said that and people laughed at me, and now all of a sudden we’re back to .500, and now everybody wants to talk about it. I’ve been saying that the whole time. Anything can happen in this short season, and there’s a lot of openings.”
The Detroit brass recently called up Casey Mize, their top pitching prospect and the #1 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, to the Tigers. He made his MLB debut in early August, but has yet to notch a win. He’s 0-1 in three starts with a 6.75 ERA.
If you take a look at the Nationals, you can’t ignore the fact that they’re suffering from a World Series hangover. It’s not really their fault they’re so bad this season. History is brutal when it comes to World Series champs, and it’s nearly impossible to win back-to-back titles in the modern era.
The defending champs in DC aren’t in good shape to defend their crown. The Nationals are 3-9 over their last 12 games, and have sunk to last place in the NL East.
The Nats lost four in a row dating back to this weekend. They also lost four straight to the Philadelphia Phillies (16-15). The Nats are trying to snap a losing streak against a Phillies team on an upswing. Joe Girardi’s squad went on an 11-6 run in late August to put the Phillies in playoff contention.
The good news for the Nats is that Max Scherzer (3-1) pitches on Wednesday. Scherzer’s turn in the rotation couldn’t come at a better time. The reliable Scherzer has yet to lose as a visiting starter in Philadelphia, where he has a 5-0 record in seven starts at Citizens Bank Ballpark.
Gotham’s Skid Row
The Mets’ skid started with the New York Yankees during a five-game Subway Series condensed within three days. The Yanks and Mets played two doubleheaders. The Mets won both games of the first doubleheader in the Bronx before dropping three straight to the Yankees. The Mets were shut down by the Yanks’ top prospect, Deivi Garcia, who made his first big-league appearance on Sunday.
The Mets lost a makeup game against the Miami Marlins on Monday. Then they were dealt a fifth loss in a row by the Baltimore Orioles. No one wants a five-bagger looming overhead. That’s when a losing streak hits five in a row and it’s time to panic before a six-pack of losses come your way. Lose one more on top of that, and you’re on verge of spending an entire week without a victory.
The Mets hope that soaking in healing crystals in the moonlight can give them a cosmically-enhanced edge over their opponents and end their losing streak. If that doesn’t work, they’ll rely on Michael Wacha (1-2) to stop the bleeding. Wacha saw his ERA balloon to 7.41 after he allowed 13 runs over his last 13 innings of action.
The Mets might have a shot because they’re facing a starter who has a worse ERA than Wacha. John Means (0-2, 8.58 ERA) gets the call for the Orioles on Wednesday. Baltimore is 0-5 in Means’ starts. He’s yet to win a game in five starts this season, but he finally got his ERA under 10.00.
At least the Mets might have finally solved the drama surrounding the sale of the team. A-Rod and J-Lo are out, but Steve Cohen is back in the mix.