The 1993 Tigers are a perfect example of why teams with poor pitching, shaky defense and a powerful all-or-nothing offense rarely sustain their success. When Detroit's bats are booming, there's no more awesome sight in baseball. Just last week the Tigers shelled the Orioles 15-1, 15-5 and 17-11 to become the first team in this century to score 45 or more runs over the course of three consecutive games twice in a season. Detroit out-scored the Twins 45-10 from April 23 through April 25.
Also last week the Tigers became the second team in history (the '78 Brewers were the other) to hit grand slams in three straight games. Outfielder Dan Gladden hit one in each of the first two games against the Orioles, and catcher Chad Kreuter did it the next night.
But that's the problem: The Tigers' outbursts come in bunches. (Their two 20-run games, against the A's and the Mariners, came within four days in mid-April.) The rest of the time Detroit is as beatable as the Rockies. Even Tiger manager Sparky Anderson admits his team's big-swing style makes it "one of the easier teams to shut out." Or at least to shut down.
After the wipeout of the Orioles had moved them within seven games of first place in the American League East, the Tigers went to Milwaukee last Friday with the hope of getting back into a race they had dominated the first half of the season. Instead Detroit totaled 12 hits, including 11 singles, in losing a doubleheader 6-1 and 7-1 and dropping back to .500.
BY THE NUMBERS
At week's end Blue Jay pitcher Juan Guzman had thrown 21 wild pitches—three short of the American League record for one season, set by Jack Morris in 1987. (The major league record is 30, by Leon Ames in 1905.) Guzman has thrown 45 wild pitches in 474 career innings. By contrast, former Oriole reliever Dick Hall had one wild pitch in 1,259 innings.