The way the Detroit Tigers have been winning games is unsustainable

Coming into the season, Detroit Tigers' fans knew that the strength was the pitching, but the hitting has been even worse than advertised, and cannot continue if they want to make an impact throughout the season.
Zach McKinstry bats for the Detroit Tigers in a game against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park.
Zach McKinstry bats for the Detroit Tigers in a game against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park. / Duane Burleson/GettyImages

The Detroit Tigers have had a decent start to the season currently standing at 10-9 which is only 3.5 games behind the division-leading Cleveland Guardians. They haven't all been pretty, but a win is a win. The team has had to grind out wins, and every game has been close. A season over .500 would be a step in the right direction, but if they keep playing this way, they will not reach that milestone.

That every game has been close shows with the team's -4 run differential. This has been taxing on the bullpen. They have had to work often, and they have rarely been mop-up roles. The high number of high-leverage innings this early in the season will be scary down the stretch. Five out of the nine main relievers have already logged at least 10 innings pitched, and the team is only 19 games. Although they have mostly been effective, having that many relievers on pace to log nearly 100 innings is going to balance out results eventually.

The offense has also been a struggle. This was pretty well-known coming into the season. The pack was going to be led by Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene, and incoming rookie Colt Keith. So far, Kerry Carpenter is the only qualified hitter with a batting average above .240. Spencer Torkelson is hitting .232 with no home runs, Greene has logged a .229 average, and Colt Keith is trying his best to head back across the Ohio line with his measly .183 average. Granted, Gio Urshela and Mark Canha have had decent starts to the season, but the overall lack of production is horrifying and now Urshela is injured.

The Detroit Tigers need to take advantage of more opportunities if they want to stop playing from behind.

So far this season, the Tigers have scored nearly half of their runs in the eighth inning or later. Essentially, in the last two innings of the game, they have scored almost half of their runs. This presumably means they are playing from behind, forcing starters out of the game earlier with no wiggle room, higher leverage innings for relievers, and higher pressure situations for hitters. It is no secret that an increase in pressure can cause a hitter to crumble and it is only a matter of time before that shows its stripes for the Tigers.

There has been a lot of luck involved with late-inning rallies and extremely impressive bullpen work thus far, and if the Detroit Tigers want to get back to the playoffs, they will need to start scoring runs earlier and more often throughout the game.