For the first time since 1993, the Detroit Tigers swept the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Start to finish, the sweep was dominating with regards to pitching, defense and hitting.
Recently, the Red Sox have been the better team than than the Tigers, particularly when playing at home. At Fenway Park, they make their own breaks and have made plenty of infuriating comebacks late in the game, both during last year's playoffs and the regular season.
Not in 2014. Detroit battered Boston around their own park over the weekend, collecting 15 hits Sunday night alone to the home team's 16 in the entire three game set. This series was game one and the early part of game two of the 2013 ALCS on steroids, with hits, both clutch and non-clutch, eluding the Red Sox in bunches all weekend while their pitching and managing routinely looked suspect.
The Tigers' pitching staff is deeper, while their order has more teeth. The team that struggled with speed swiped a pair of bags over the weekend, while getting hits from Ian Kinsler, who helped set the table for Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and company. Detroit was able to manufacture runs in a variety of ways (their early-season trademark) and thwart every run of Boston momentum with a significant push back of their own. It wasn't something Detroit fans are used to seeing at Fenway, a personal house of horrors.
Simply, the World Series winners from a year ago look stale. The Tigers, with last season's disappointment burning fresh in their mind, are the hungrier team that feel as if they have more to prove. That edge provided a nice weekend of baseball for Detroit, which helped them make an important early season statement; they're here to stay, and certainly one of the best teams in baseball.
By sweeping the Baltimore Orioles and particularly the Red Sox, the Tigers made a statement that the road through the American League might run through the Motor City instead of a few cities along the eastern seaboard. Yes, it's early May, but an accomplishment that's been 21 years in the making is important.
Player Of The Week: Ian Kinsler. In Boston, Kinsler was a man possessed, going an impressive 6-13 at the plate in Fenway Park, and a gaudy 4-5 on Sunday night. This isn't even to mention Kinsler's important two run home run in Baltimore that helped win a game. All season long, Kinsler has been stirring the drink at the top of Detroit's order, helping set the table for those behind him. This week, he gets his long-awaited shot at revenge against the Texas Rangers, his former ball club. Look out for more big games on the horizon.
Play Of The Week: Miguel Cabrera's game winning home run in Baltimore. Detroit only came close to losing one game on their previous road trip through the A.L. East, and it was against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night. Down 1-0 in the ninth, Cabrera belted a three run home run to put Detroit out in front for the first time in the game and the team never looked back. It was just another example of Cabrera's greatness to cherish. With everything on the line, baseball's best hitter came through again.
The Challenge Ahead: Burying the Cleveland Indians. It's May, so Detroit certainly cannot put away the Indians just yet in the standings, but if the hot Tigers continue their run through Cleveland, it would make a huge statement to the team that was supposed to challenge them for the Central Division. As it stands now, Cleveland is 10.5 games out of first place. Barring a sweep of Detroit, they will likely remain that way or get worse. Detroit has to kick their rivals from across Lake Erie while they're down.
Question For This Week: What kind of reception will Prince Fielder receive? Fielder makes his Detroit return on Thursday afternoon when the Tigers will tangle with the Rangers for the first time in 2014. Fielder, as such, will make his only visit back to Comerica Park. What will the fans do? Will there be jeers or cheers? Will Fielder, who suffered an injury, even play? These are all delicious storylines to monitor near the end of the week.Baseball, Detroit, Detroit Tigers, Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera, MLB, Prince Fielder