I just took a rear view mirror look at the rest of the season. Though I've been following the Tigers pretty closely, what I saw surprised me a bit. At 87-63 (.580), they're 24 games above 500. But every bit of that came in two hot streaks. From game 21 to game 30 (April 26 - May 5) they won 9 out of 10 to go 8 over. They then played exactly .500 ball for the next 66 games, and after game 96 (July 20) were again 8 over. They then went on a 16 of 17 tear, and were 23 games over after game 113 (August 8). They were again 23 games over after game 149 (September 15). Since taking the first of a 4 game series with the Mariners last night, they're now 24 games over .500 for the 4th time since game 130 (August 25). If they can win 8 of these last 12, they'll end up 95-67 (.586) and 28 over.
So - except for two hot streaks totaling 27 games (16.6% of the season), the Tigers have played exactly .500 baseball for the other 124 games to date. They dipped to only 20 games over at game 144 (September 9), and have since taken 5 out of 6 to regain the season high.
Graph 1 shows how games over .500 have tracked across the season. The two long .500 stretches at 8 and 23 over are indicated with red lines. I've also included a projected target line in bright blue to a season end at 28 over (95-67), based on taking 2 out of three in each remaining series. Against the Mariners, White Sox, Twins and Marlins this shouldn't (!?!) be too much of a challenge.
Also included is a linear trend line through the first 96 games. If the Tigers had continued along that line, they'd have finished the season with 88 to 90 wins, about where the Indians will end up.
9/18 AFTERTHOUGHT: As ridiculous at this might sound, the graph traces out an Elliott Wave. The 9 of 10 and 16 of 17 streaks are both 3rd waves one trend level down from the top. The 16 of 17 is third wave of the top level third wave. Sixteen is as close as you can get to 1.62 times 10 when you're dealing with integers.
The gains in the first, third and (projected) fifth waves are 9, 19 and 8. The third wave is close to double the first wave, and the first and third are near equal.
The wave 1 top is at game 49. Wave 2 includes the sideways motion to the bottom at game 81. , and Wave 3 ends at the game 130 top. Wave 4 ends at the game 144 low. It even exhibits long-short counter-current wave alternation from 2 to 4. The third of third wave is the most powerful upward thrust.
The second wave retracement is from 9 over to 5 over, close to the Fibonacci 8/5 ratio. The second retacement is from 24 to 20 over, very close to the .786 ratio that is the square root of the golden ratio .618.
The lengths of waves 1 and 2 are close to a 5/3 ratio.
Graph 2 shows how the win percentage has tracked over the season. After game 20 (April 25) they never fell to .500 again. But during those long red line stretches in Graph 1, the winning percentage slowly regressed back toward .500. The end of season target of .586 is indicated with a red dot.
Scoring has been anemic in September, despite two barrages of 9 and 16 runs. Over the remaining 12 games, they've only averaged 3.1 runs. But - except for one horrible night in Boston - the pitching has been stellar with the opponents only averaging 2.1 runs per game.
Still, scoring efficiency needs to improve. The September average of 3.8 runs per game results from 9.9 hits and 7 left on base per game. A dismal 0.38 runs/hit, or 2.6 hits/run is horrendous, and will lead to a quick exit in the post season, even if the pitching holds up.