Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
As optimistic as I want to be and have been all season, I have the panic in the back of my head that this team has issues that they're not going to overcome. One week ago, I said with 16 games to go, the Tigers needed to win 13 to win the division out-right. With already accumulating three losses in the first eight of that 16, they're not going to win 13. I think that likely pegs the Tigers at going 6-2 the rest of the way, putting them at 11-5 over the final 16. After their slip up in Anaheim, I think the White Sox are a good bet to finish at .500, leaving the two teams knotted at 88-74, requiring a game 163. If that's how it plays out barring any rainouts or schedule skips, the ball would go to Justin Verlander. And I just can't bet against Verlander in a big game like that. The Tigers get retribution on game 163's and take the division crown.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
This is such a difficult question. The Tigers have been so close to taking over the lead and doing what they were projected to do, yet they can't seem to get over the hump. They are a flawed and inconsistent team that struggles to put together extended winning streaks, but it's hard to discount that they could do it over the next few days. They are right there in the race with the starting pitching and middle-of-the-order thump to make it happen if the White Sox stumble at all. The optimist in me believes the Tigers can pull it out in the final days of the season and head onto the playoffs, but the White Sox have had a very strong season and I fail to see how they're going to collapse now. I think the odds are close to even, but I wouldn't favor the Tigers right now.
Chris Vannini, Senior Staff Writer
Gun to my head? Yeah, I think the Tigers win the division. The Indians have checked out, and the Rays may be just about out of the wildcard race by the time the White Sox series comes, but I think Chicago slips up just enough. As for the Tigers, I have to admit I wouldn't be surprised if they lost every game down the stretch, based on how this season has gone. It would be such a Tigers thing to drop games against division foes whom they've dominated all season, but I think they put together just enough to get into the postseason. I don't really know why, but I just see it happening.
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