The Detroit Tigers managed to salvage what could have been a devastating finish to their latest road trip, pulling out a pair of wins to blast them out of Minnesota.
Not coincidentally, the two game resurgence featured some clutch hitting by Tigers' outfielders such as J.D. Martinez, Torii Hunter and Rajai Davis. When those players are hitting, Detroit's offense can become an unstoppable force.
During the last two wins against the Twins, Martinez, Hunter and Davis combined for 12 hits, five runs and seven RBI. Arguably, it was there hitting heroics that led the charge back from a few embarrassing defeats, such as a 20-6 whitewash Friday, and a 1-0 loss Thursday to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The streakiness of Martinez and Hunter has been noted, but not so much Davis, who has a way of laying in the weeds. Sunday, Davis clubbed his first home run since the walk-off blast that beat the Oakland Athletics back in June, and it was a big one, powering Detroit to a 13-4 win. Earlier in the week, he had several near-misses, and almost broke the streak earlier.
For the second half, the recipe is quite simple: if the Tigers' outfielders, including Davis, hit consistently and hit for power, Detroit is capable of shaking off their terrible droughts where offense looks to be a foreign concept.
Davis seems to be a special key. In every game but two since August 14 when he's gotten a hit, the Tigers have won. If he's clearing the bases with home runs and plentiful RBI's, Detroit's in even better shape to find that consistency from their outfielders that has been lacking at times in 2014, making the power stroke something to watch for in the weeks ahead.
When he's batting, Davis shouldn't try too hard to swing for the fences, but if he gets in a groove and starts connecting, that could be a major variable which helps push the struggling Tigers over the top.
For rediscovering that, this week's performance was a good start.
Top Tiger: Max Scherzer. Don't look now, but Scherzer might be inserting himself back into the Cy Young consideration with an especially dominating week. Sunday, he pitched the Tigers to arguably one of their most important wins of the season, going five innings in a victory over the Twins. Total, Scherzer is now 15-4 and remains at the top of the league in strikeouts.
The Challenge Ahead: Keeping a competitor behind in wild card race. The New York Yankees visit town this week, and are competing with the Tigers to stay in the hunt for the wild card. Knowing this, Detroit has to raise their game and help play a part in burying the Yankees. From that standpoint, this is another vital series for Detroit, at home no less, where confidence is needed.
Question For This Week: What Tigers will show up? It was a bizarre last week for Detroit, as the offense disappeared in several games. In others, good pitching disappeared. Will there be a more consistent feel this week? Detroit desperately needs to rediscover some form of consistency, lest they fall out of the race thanks to several hotter, more consistent teams ahead of them.
Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.
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