Tigers need productive Cabrera and company to thrive

Wed Oct 2, 2013 7:25pm EDT
 
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - The Detroit Tigers possess the best triple-threat on the pitcher's mound but desperately need slugger Miguel Cabrera and his lineup mates to roar into gear if they are to claim an elusive World Series crown.

The Tigers fell in last year's World Series in a four-game sweep by the San Francisco Giants, six years after losing the 2006 Fall Classic in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals.

As good as starting pitchers Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez promise to be, they need backing from Detroit bats that lost their power this past month if they are to end the franchise's 29-year championship drought.

Detroit (93-69) was hardly pressured in grabbing the AL Central title, but their fading bats was disquieting to some who remembered how their lumber slumbered in the World Series when they scored a total of six runs on 20 hits.

Hall of Famer Al Kaline, who still works for Detroit's front office, sees no reason for panic and said he recognized some of the same qualities that helped his 1968 Tigers win the World Series in seven games over the Cardinals.

"I'm not with this team every day," Kaline told the Detroit Free Press. "But I do see some similarities with this team and '68 in that there's a quiet balance to this team.

"They don't get too high. They don't get too low. And that comes from a confidence that they know they can get the job done when they absolutely have to get it done. And that reminds me some of the 1968 team."

Kaline said the '68 Tigers had a determination born from losing the American League pennant on the last day of the 1967 season, and he believed these Tigers have the same resolve after squandering their opportunity last year.   Continued...

 
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland (R) talks with third base coach Tom Brookens after Omar Infante's three-run double against the Kansas City Royals in the fifth inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Kansas City, Missouri September 6, 2013. REUTERS/Dave Kaup