Detroit was a laughingstock in 2003 while losing an American League-record 119 games. But not this year. \nThe Tigers might not win a major league baseball division title, but at least they're respectable, just five games under .500 and giving opponents fits. \n"It's a completely different atmosphere in this place," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said during a recent series at Comerica Park. "You used to come in here expecting to win, and now every game is a fight. That's not a team anyone wants to play these days." \nIvan Rodriguez, Carlos Guillen, Ugueth Urbina and Jason Johnson are just some of the newcomers having strong seasons. Young holdovers Omar Infante, Brandon Inge, Mike Maroth and Nate Robertson have gone from prospects to producers. \nWhen the deadline passed on Saturday for trades without waivers, Detroit decided it wasn't interested in unloading players suddenly attractive to playoff-hopeful teams. \n"Clubs were calling about some of our players, but we liked those players and we weren't looking for just prospects," Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said on Monday. "We've made tremendous strides and we feel like we're in a position to keep building toward our goal of a championship." \nThe Tigers (50-55) are tired about talking about last year, but that doesn't stop the interesting comparisons. \nThey surpassed the 2003 victory total of 43 in their 91st game, easily setting a record for fewest games needed to overtake a win total from the previous year. \nThe Tigers finished last year 47 games behind AL Central champion Minnesota and lost 20 more games than the next-worst team in the majors (Tampa Bay). Now, they're 9 1/2 games behind the division-leading Twins, and have more wins than nine teams. \n"We've come a long way," manager Alan Trammell said. \nLast year, the Tigers scored the fewest runs (3.6 per game) in the AL; had the worst fielding percentage (.978) in the league; trailed every team in baseball in batting average (.240) and were among the worst in the majors in ERA (5.30). \nThis season, they're among the best in baseball in runs (5.3 per game) and batting average (.278). But they've been wildly inconsistent because they rank among baseball's worst in ERA (4.84), fielding percentage (.977) and errors (92). \nDetroit's shortcomings, especially with its middle relievers and setup men, has led to an 8-17 record in one-run games and a 4-8 mark in extra innings. \nWhile the Tigers are not making Minnesota worry about staying atop the division, they do have a shot at ending the season with a .500 record for the first time since 1993. \nRodriguez often has said the Tigers are playoff contenders, and while they likely will not be in the postseason, the All-Star catcher is a big reason it's even a topic of conversation. He is batting .349, tied with Barry Bonds for the major league lead, and has been a confidence-building presence. \nWhite Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, Florida's third base coach last season, is not surprised Rodriguez has led Detroit's climb to respectability. \n"Rodriguez can obviously turn around any club," Guillen said. "He carried our team all last year on the field and in the clubhouse."
Japanese couple Rikiya and Ayumi Kataoka had their honeymoon wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, but their resourcefulness in enforced exile in Cape Verde has won them appointments as ambassadors for its Olympic team. The Kataokas had completed a third of their round-the-world trip when a suspension in long-haul flights stranded them for five months in the archipelago of 10 tiny islands off the coast of West Africa. Unable to resume their journey to Europe and then home to Japan, and unwilling to head to the African mainland, where virus cases are spiking, they had to trade their skills with domestic businesses to
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being