The Tigers finished second in the AL Central with a 95-67 mark (.586) -- their best regular-season record since the 1987 club won 98 games. Ever since the Tigers joined the Central, they never placed higher than third. Before this season's finish, the Tigers hadn't placed at least second since 1988 when that club won its division.
Record vs. Yankees
Nobody gave the Tigers fits this season like the Yankees. They lost five of seven games to the Bronx Bombers and were outscored, 38-23. Detroit lost three straight at home to New York before it finally beat them in the final game of a four-game series to avoid a sweep on June 1. The clubs met again for three in August in the Bronx, where New York won Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader and the Tigers took the nightcap.
Record vs. playoff teams
The Tigers went 18-17 (.510) against clubs in this season's playoffs. They faced the Twins a total of 19 times, swept them twice and won 11 of those meetings. The Tigers didn't have as much luck against the Yankees, though, whom they went 2-5 against this year.
Record vs. winning teams
Eighty games were played against clubs with winning records as of Sept. 27, and the Tigers went 39-41 (.490) in those contests. More recently, though, the Tigers struggled against clubs above the .500 mark. They lost eight of their last nine series against American League clubs with winning records, and only managed a four-game split with the White Sox in late August. Overall, they went 10-19 against the Twins, White Sox, Red Sox, Yankees, Angels and Blue Jays over the last two months. They did sweep the Twins twice earlier in the season, and won six straight against the Cardinals and Astros in June.
The Tigers actually finished in the bottom half of the American League in hitting with a .274 mark, good for eighth. They ranked near the bottom in stolen bases as well with 60, although Carlos Guillen had 20 of those for the 11th-ranked Tigers. But, perhaps, Detroit's most perplexing stat is its on-base percentage (.329), which ranks 12th among the league's 14 clubs.
Home runs, unlike baserunners, weren't as hard to come by. The Tigers hit 203 of those, the third-most in the American League. Nobody had a 30-homer season, but Craig Monroe (28), Brandon Inge (27), Marcus Thames (26) and Ordonez (24) blasted at least 20 homers apiece.
Pitching wasn't Detroit's forte last season, but it was its key to success in 2006. The Tigers had a Major League-best 3.84 ERA this season, nearly a full run better than their mark (4.52) a season ago. Kenny Rogers and Justin Verlander won 17 games apiece, and Jeremy Bonderman matched a career high with 14 victories. He also ranked second in the league with 202 strikeouts.
In the bullpen, Todd Jones saved 37 games while Joel Zumaya appeared in 62 games, struck out 97 batters and finished with an ERA of 1.94. Jones and Zumaya did blow a combined nine save opportunities, though.
The Tigers committed 106 errors this season, the fourth most in the American League. Guillen committed a team-high 28 of those, and Inge made 22 errors of his own. Behind the plate, Ivan Rodriguez finished with a .998 fielding percentage after committing two errors in 801 total chances. Placido Polanco was slick around the infield, too, with only six errors in 555 total chances.
Carlos Guillen (6G, .286, 1 HR, 3 RBIs) Todd Jones (1G, 0.1 IP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA) Magglio Ordonez (3G, .182, 1 RBI) Neifi Perez (3G, .333 (1-for-3), 0 RBIs) Placido Polanco (12G, .267, 4 RBIs) Ivan Rodriguez (27G, .295, 3 HR, 20 RBIs) Kenny Rogers (9G, 20.1 IP, 0-3, 8.85 ERA) Matt Stairs (4G, .100, 0 RBIs)
2006 stats vs. Yankees:
Jeremy Bonderman, who faced the Yankees twice, allowed eight runs against them and went 0-2. Nate Robertson lost twice, too, and surrendered eight runs in 15 2/3 innings over two starts. Offensively, Magglio Ordonez batted .333 (8-for-24) with a home run and seven RBIs against New York. Brandon Inge, on the other hand, had five hits in 23 at-bats (.217) with a double and an RBI.
Career vs. Game 1 starter Chien-Ming Wang:
Sean Casey: .000 (0-for-3), 0 HR, 0 RBIs Curtis Granderson: .333 (1-for-3), 0 HR, 0 RBIs Carlos Guillen: .300 (3-for-10), 0 HR, 1 RBI Omar Infante: .250 (1-for-4), 0 HR, 1 RBI Brandon Inge: .333 (4-for-12), 0 HR, 0 RBIs Craig Monroe: .091 (1-for-11), 0 HR, 0 RBIs Magglio Ordonez: .000 (0-for-3), 0 HR, 0 RBIs Neifi Perez: .000 (0-for-6), 0 HR, 0 RBIs Placido Polanco: 1.000 (1-for-1), 0 HR, 0 RBIs Ivan Rodriguez: .200 (2-for-10), 0 HR, 1 RBI Chris Shelton: .667 (2-for-3), 0 HR, 0 RBIs Marcus Thames: .400 (2-for-5), 0 HR, 0 RBI
Kevin Yanik is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less