Tigers try to keep even keel for important stretch

Tigers try to keep even keel for important stretch

Tigers try to keep even keel for important stretch
ANAHEIM -- Falling just short of the playoffs if the season were to end Friday, the Tigers have a shot to move up in the standings over the next week by facing a pair of teams looking down at them.

Up first is a three-game set against the Angels, who entered the day a half-game ahead of the Tigers in the Wild Card race. Detroit entered the day three games back of Oakland for the second spot with the Angels just ahead of them.

Next on the schedule is a key four-game series against the White Sox, who lead the Tigers by a game in the AL Central.

Although there is no denying the added importance of facing a pair of teams ahead of them in the standings in September, the Tigers are approaching the next week like any other.

"We know what we have to do to win the games and the way we have to prepare," catcher Alex Avila said. "Coming into this series or going into the next series, it's going to be just like when we went into the first week of the season facing Boston or whoever."

While many players won't admit it, Avila said it's human nature to notice how the other playoff contenders are doing down the stretch.

Getting a chance to face those teams instead of having to hope another team gets the job done, the Tigers get a chance to either position themselves down the stretch or fall even further behind in both the division and Wild Card races.

"Because of these series, there might be a little bit more added intensity," Avila said. "You've got to take a step back and take it as a one game at a time like any other game and any other series. We've got to be as relaxed and prepared as possible."