The icy-cold fact is this: if the Tigers surrender the division lead — one they’ve held in some fashion since May 14 — on the last day of the season, it will be a one-of-a-kind collapse: a three-game cushion with four to play.
This miserable experience for Tigers fans, so close to the division cough-up job in Game 162 of 2006, got me to thinking how Jim Leyland‘s clubs finish. Are there any trends we can pinpoint?
For starters, I looked at his playoff teams — the 1990, ’91 and ’92 Pirates, the 1997 Marlins, and the 2006 Tigers. I focused on the last month or so of the season, starting with September 1. All in all, it’s pretty respectable. Here’s what I found out:
- 1990: 20-12
- 1991: 21-13
- 1992: 22-10
- 1997: 12-15
- 2006: 12-16
- 2009: 16-15 (through Saturday night)
Being 100-percent biased by the Tigers current situation (and ’06), I expected to see poor finishes from Leyland’s clubs. But it just isn’t the case. In fact, Leyland’s two World Series teams had the worst stretch-run records of all his playoff clubs.
Ponder this, won’t you, while you enjoy your Fruit Loops — or gnash your teeth — on the final Sunday morning of the regular season?