Objectively, most people would consider the 2021 MLB season as a surprise success for the Detroit Tigers, both in the sheer wins total and overall development.
Although a good month of the season remains, the Tigers are playing above expectations this year.
After being projected to be among the worst teams in all of baseball, Detroit still finds itself technically in the postseason mix (however unlikely its chances may be) as the season nears September.
Detroit Tigers wins total: Over virtually secured
Anyone in the Michigan sports betting world who took a chance on Detroit has to be feeling pretty good about themselves here in late August.
Last October, Detroit was projected with an over/under of just 63 wins for the season. Heading into Wednesday’s afternoon game with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Tigers were 61-66.
Following Tuesday’s 4-3 victory win over St. Louis, the Tigers are 52-42 since May 8 and 21-15 since the All-Star Break.
It would take a historically bad finish for the Tigers to not get to 64 wins, as they have 35 games remaining on the schedule.
Playoff longshots, but future glimmers of hope
The Tigers still find themselves as a considerable longshot for the postseason, but not many would have expected them to even be in the picture in late August. Especially after a 9-24 start to the season.
Detroit entered Wednesday 12 games behind the Chicago White Sox (73-54) in the American League Central. They sit just two games behind the Cleveland Indians (61-62) for second place in the division.
In the Wild Card race, Detroit is 11 games out of the second spot to the Boston Red Sox (72-55). As such, ESPN’s MLB playoff calculator gives the Tigers virtually no chance to make the playoffs.
At the very least, those who jumped on their +1300 odds to make the playoffs before the season can feel like they didn’t do so entirely blindly.
Elusive .500 mark within reach
The Tigers have had some nice stretches during the summer, but haven’t been able to hit that .500 mark since April 14 (6-6).
Detroit got within three games of .500 on Aug. 12 following a series sweep in Baltimore to move to 57-60. However, they lost five of their next six.
After Tuesday’s victory, the Tigers have won three of their past four to try and get some momentum going once again.
Wednesday is an afternoon matchup with the Cardinals, who they are surprisingly 3-0 against this season.
Tarik Skubal (8-11, 4.02 ERA) gets the start for Detroit against Jon Lester (4-6, 5.46) of the Cardinals.
Oddsmakers at Caesars Sportsbook had the Cardinals as a -125 morning favorite in this one. Detroit was listed at +115 on the road. Live odds are below.
Following Wednesday’s game, Detroit returns home for seven straight against the Toronto Blue Jays, Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics.
Miguel Cabrera gets to 500 home runs
Detroit has been relevant nationally in recent weeks as Miguel Cabrera pursued his quest for 500 career home runs.
After hitting his 499th on Aug. 11, Cabrera went into a bit of a power slump, failing to get the milestone number during a long homestand.
It took 11 days for Cabrera to reach his 500th, which came Sunday in Toronto.
Cabrera is the 28th player to reach the 500-home run mark in MLB history. He was the first to do so as a member of the Detroit Tigers.
Eddie Mathews and Gary Sheffield are the only other former Tigers players to have reached 500 home runs in their careers.
Cabrera didn’t wait long to get 501, as he had a solo home run in Tuesday’s win over the Cardinals.
He now has 363 home runs as a Tiger, putting him third in franchise history behind Norm Cash (373) and Al Kaline (399).
Cabrera is also closing in on 3,000 hits for his career. Only six players have ever had 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. He would join Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez and Eddie Murray if he were to reach that milestone.
Currently, Cabrera sits at 2,957 hits for his career. He has 91 for the season. ESPN projects him at 116 for 2021, which would leave him at 2,982.
Akil Baddoo: rookie of the year?
While AJ Hinch could find himself a vote or two for AL Manager of the Year, the Tigers still have an award contender, regardless.
Akil Baddoo finds himself as one of the top contenders in the AL Rookie of the Year race.
According to BetMGM Sportsbook, Baddoo is at +1700 to win the honor. Randy Arozarena of the Tampa Bay Rays is the clear favorite right now at -150.
Those odds at other sportsbooks were as high as +4000 earlier this season.
Entering Wednesday, the 23-year-old had played in 94 games this season and is hitting .262 with 10 home runs, 45 RBI and 18 doubles. He also has stolen 14 bases and possesses a WAR of 1.4.
The centerfielder for Detroit returned to action on Tuesday after missing nearly two weeks following a collision with Derek Hill during a 9-4 win over Baltimore on Aug. 10.
Baddoo was placed on the concussion protocol injured list following the collision. He was 0-for-5 in his return Tuesday.