This is truly the worst road trip of the season. While it will be the worst trip for both wins and losses for the now second-place Detroit Tigers, the way they have played, they way they have lost, and the players that have been injured along the way has been startling.
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During this three-city road trip, which will finally conclude tonight at either 3-6 with a much-needed win or 2-7 with another loss. The players they have lost include Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, Joakim Soria, Anibal Sanchez, and now Justin Verlander. Of course Hunter and Cabrera were just banged up and came back, but it’s clear Miggy’s injuries from last season are hampering his performance.
Justin, who allowed five runs in one inning, the shortest stint of his career, will undergo an MRI today and the star pitcher acknowledged facing the unknown.
"“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. I’ve never been through this before. I just didn’t feel great [tonight] and [it was] disappointing on a night that the team really needed me.”"
If Verlander is out an extended period of time, will this spell doom for the 2014 Tigers? Certainly in the short-term it looks that way.
The Tigers will throw out back-to-back rookie starting pitchers against Pittsburgh. Tonight Robbie Ray will get the start, with four career big league games under his belt (and none since May). Wednesday, when the Tigers-Pirates series shifts to Comerica Park, it will be Buck Farmer. A fifth-round pick in the 2013 draft, Farmer has pitched two games in AA-Erie, and that’s it.
This means a bullpen that has been burnt to a crisp with overwork lately will need to heavily contribute. Even if Ray and Farmer give great performances, you cannot imagine either one going deep into the game, especially Farmer.
Teams rarely win championships with two rookie pitchers in the rotation, which makes Verlander’s diagnosis even more important.
This is where a manager earns his paycheck, but does Brad Ausmus have the chops to break this team out of its doldrums to reclaim first place? The situations the Tigers currently find themselves in, with injured players, inconsistent or struggling stars, poor hitting, and a general malaise is something that even veteran managers struggle to get their teams through.
Only time will tell, but there is one thing that can get the team and its fan base through this rough patch: pennants are not won or lost in August.