2014 Detroit Tigers
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2014 Detroit Tigers / Franchise: Detroit Tigers / BR Team Page
Clinched Division: September 28, 2014, vs. Minnesota Twins
Managed by Brad Ausmus
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2014 Detroit Tigers started the season with a pair of walk-off wins at home against the Kansas City Royals. On Opening Day, March 31st, SS Alex Gonzalez drove in pinch-runner Tyler Collins with a 9th-inning single for a 4-3 win, then in the season's second game on April 2nd, 2B Ian Kinsler got the winning hit in the 10th inning, after having homered earlier in the game, as Detroit won, 2-1. All three players were newcomers to the team, Gonzalez having been acquired late during the spring after an injury to presumptive starting SS José Iglesias, Collins having made the roster after playing in AA the previous year, and Kinsler having been acquired in an off-season blockbuster trade with the Texas Rangers for 1B Prince Fielder. Another new Tiger, P Joe Nathan, was the winner in the opener, but blew a 1-0 lead in the 9th inning of the second game to force extra innings. At 4-0, the Tigers were the last undefeated team in the major leagues when they lost for the first time on April 6th, bowing 3-1 to the Baltimore Orioles as Chris Tillman outpitched Justin Verlander.
The Tigers began the season relatively slowly, as they were 9-7 on April 21st, although already in 1st place in a tight AL Central. However, they began a surge the next day that saw them win 11 of their next 13 games, including an eight-game winning streak from April 29-May 7th. Max Scherzer picked up 4 of the 11 wins by himself and by the end of the streak, the Tigers were standing 5 games ahead of the second-place Chicago White Sox and had the best winning percentage in the majors with a record of 20-9.
The Tigers were very active at the trading deadline, acquiring P David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays in a trade also involving the Seattle Mariners. Starting CF Austin Jackson headed to the Pacific Northwest, with speedster Rajai Davis taking over for him, while prospect Drew Smyly went to Florida. Price pitched well for the Tigers over the next months, but that did not result in many wins, while observers were quick to note that Smyly was pitching as well - if not better - for the Rays. On August 2nd, the Tigers set a franchise first by scoring in every inning of an 11-5 win over the Colorado Rockies - at least since 1912, as inning-by-inning scores are not available for all games before that date. The scoring included homers by Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez in support of P Rick Porcello, who improved to 13-5 on the year. However, the month of August was not particularly successful, since the Bengals started it in first place with a four-game lead on August 1st, but were tied for first with the Kansas City Royals on the 31st. The Royals continued their surge in the first days of September, building a 1 1/2 game lead, until the Tigers tied them again on September 9th following wins over their closest rivals in the first two games of a head-to-head series. However, the Royals won the final game of the set, 3-0, on September 10th, behind a great performance by James Shields to reclaim a one-game lead.
The race with the Royals remained air-tight until the final days of September, but on September 24th, a 6-1 win over the White Sox combined with a Royals loss clinched at least a wild card slot for the Bengals. They still held on for two-game lead over Kansas City in the AL Central, with a magic number of 3.
The Tigers featured five starting pitchers who had won or would eventually win the Cy Young Award: Justin Verlander had won one in 2011 and would do so again in 2019; Max Scherzer, who would win it back-to-back in the National League in 2016 and 2017; Rick Porcello (2016); David Price, who had won it in 2012; and first-year man Robbie Ray, the 2021 winner.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, Victor Martinez and Max Scherzer
- AL Silver Slugger Award: Victor Martinez (DH)
- 2014 Topps All-Star Rookie Team: Nick Castellanos (3B)
- Washington Post: "Tigers clinch their fourth straight American League Central title", Historic-newspapers.com, September 29, 2014