Detroit Tigers can contend in horrendous AL Central; or can they?

Someone needs to kick the Detroit Tigers offense in the rear end.
 Detroit Tigers center fielder Jake Marisnick (15) celebrates in the dugout.
Detroit Tigers center fielder Jake Marisnick (15) celebrates in the dugout. / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers could make the playoffs in 2023.

Now, hear me out, this may sound outlandish, but the Detroit Tigers control their own destiny in 2023 and could find themselves in the postseason. This is not some banging of the drum thinking that everything is great for the Tigers because it will take an uphill climb, but it's not impossible.

The Detroit Tigers being in contention for a postseason spot is really going to be a contingent thing on their performance moving forward. It sounds insane to suggest, but with how poor the American League (AL) Central Division is performing, it's something that could very well happen.

They would almost assuredly be exiting during the Wildcard round, but a postseason appearance is not out of the question and would be an absolute victory for the season overall. The Tigers have the easiest division to navigate and are currently just 5.0 games back of the Minnesota Twins in third place among the AL Central.

Very simply put, the pitching has been fine, and the offense has left so much to be desired for. The pitching could be a shade better to really contend, but given where the team is at, the team could fight and claw enough to make the postseason if the pitching stayed the same, especially getting Tarik Skubal back.

Speaking of Tarik Skubal, the Tigers' pitching busted its hind end on Tuesday; the southpaw made the most of his first "bump day" in 11 months. Skubal threw 4.0 no-hit innings, punching out six opposing hitters. He gave way to Reese Olson, the young right-hander who has been exciting, who threw 5.0 innings, allowing one hit and one walk while punching out five opposing hitters. Finally, Tyler Holton was called upon in extra innings, throwing 1.0 inning and allowing one hit with a punchout as well.

Holton would allow an unearned run, and the Tigers would go on to lose to the downright horrendous Oakland Athletics, allowing just two hits and walking only one throughout the entire game. It's abysmal for the Tigers' offense to sour an outing like this for the team's pitching staff.

The Tigers' offense had six hits but were unable to scratch a run across against, arguably, one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball. It's just hard to see this type of performance. If there's any weight to be put behind a thought of contending, this team needs to find its "fight" offensively.

The Tigers lineup is not showing that ability to grind out at-bats and hit contagiously throughout the lineup. The run production has been horrendous. The Tigers are averaging a hair under 4.0 runs per game at just 3.94, which is 28th in the league, behind only Kansas City and Oakland.

The team has scored 327 runs and allowed 404, which is 10th in the league. So it's not a perfect formula, but the Tigers surely could put themselves in a better spot if the offense could just pick them up a bit more.

It's going to take a significant boost from the Tigers' offense, but the postseason could be sniffed if the bats figure out how to connect with the ball. There are obviously a lot more layers to the offensive struggles than just not hitting right now.

Some of the players are just not going to produce at a high level, as the Tigers were not built to be a postseason team in 2023, but if the bats wake up and produce and help them turn the corner on a few games, it's not unrealistic for them to make a push in the AL Central.

Call me crazy; that's fine. Frankly, I don't see the Tigers bats waking up enough to muster up the important wins (i.e., the 1-0 loss to the A's in a 2-hitter), but if things were to fall into place, the playoffs are not impossible.

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