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Tigers Did Not Blow It

A bunch is being made of Detroit's "collapse" at the end of the season, allowing the Twins to force a tiebreaker, and ultimately win the division. True, the Tigers are the first team to have a three game lead with four games to go and not make the playoffs. However, that is hardly the entire story.

I have been working on a season review post, based on the projected standings throughout the year. Below is the quartile data for the Minnesota and Detroit's projected records throughout the season. I'll explain more about what that means in the whole post dedicated to it. For now, think of it as the variation in the team's ability throughout the year:

TEAMMINQ1MEDQ3MAXMODEFINAL
Tigers 85-77 86-76 87-75 88-74 99-63 87-75 86-76
Twins58-104 80-82 81-81 84-78 87-75 84-78 86-76

In the projected standings, the Tigers were one of the most consistent teams this season. They only finished a game off of their expected finish. One one hand, that puts them in their lower quartile (strengthening the belief they faded), but it's only one game. I have a hard time calling that a collapse.

On the other hand, the Twins meddled around .500 a majority of the year, but in the end finished only one game off of their maximum (which they reached on July 3). On September 18 they were still projected to win just 82 games.

Clearly, the Twins surged much more than the Tigers faded. Both happened, but Minnesota needs to be given much more credit than calling Detroit's finish a collapse gives them. The Tigers faded ever so slightly, and that gave Minnesota just enough daylight with their furious finish.

Give credit where it is due. The Twins grabbed the AL Central title from the Tigers. The Tigers did not just give it away.