Detroit Tigers: So You’re Saying There’s a Chance
By Tom Zahari
The Detroit Tigers have been miserable this season as they stay around the .500 mark. Their pitching staff has been miserable when their lineup produces, their lineup goes stagnant when their pitching is strong, and when both their starting pitching and lineup produces, the bullpen has been a grease fire they cannot put out.
All of that being said, the Tigers still may be buyers at the deadline according to Jim Bowden. The Tigers’ beat writers still say a decision has not been made, but there’s still a possibility of buying.
All that being said, the Tigers are only 4 games out of the Wild Card at the moment with the Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays, and Baltimore Orioles ahead of them. While the Tigers are the only team in that bunch with a negative run differential, there is still a chance the Tigers could make a run at the postseason.
Recent history says that the Tigers have a chance not only to make the playoffs, but be successful in them. The Kansas City Royals were 48-50 at the 98 game mark last season where the Tigers are now.
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The difference between the Tigers and the Royals is that the Tigers are built around their lineup while the other teams were built around pitching. The Tigers are ranked 26th in team ERA at 4.31 while the Royals were 12th in team ERA at 3.51, but in the top 5 in bullpen ERA.
The fix for the Tigers is not as simple as adding one pitcher. They need at least two starting pitchers to ensure they do not cede games with Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene on the mound, and many bullpen arms.
Pitching is not something that all of the sudden goes on a hot streak like hitting can. Pitchers can have good stretches, but their stuff almost always catches up with them like it did with Greene and Simon.
The Tigers’ biggest hope is that Miguel Cabrera returns and mashes like Cabrera can while the rest of the lineup continues to produce. They would also need to add a starting pitcher, a bullpen arm, and have the bullpen correctly managed by manager Brad Ausmus. Their other hope is that their competition in the American League listed above are also mediocre teams. If there was a year to be mediocre and make a run in the AL, it is this year.
All of that being said, there is a chance that the Tigers could still buy, produce, and make a run, but those chances are not high. They are the team we have watched all season: mediocre. If they were based on pitching, they could pitch their way to victory and to the postseason, but without pitching, their road to the postseason is very long and they should sell.