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Beline Obeid

Can the Tigers hang on to win division?


July 03, 2014
It's been quite the rollercoaster ride for the Detroit Tigers during the months of May and June.

After getting off to a fantastic 27-12 start, the Tigers lost 20 of 29 games to see their status as the No. 1 team in the American League Central Division sink to No. 2 after the Kansas City Royals moved past them.

The losing streak was a combination of poor starting pitchers, a stinky bullpen and a serious lack of clutch hitting.

Justin Verlander looked far from the dominant pitcher he was the past several years.

He looked rather human and pitched more like a rookie than a crafty, hard-throwing former Cy Young winner.

His velocity and strikeout totals are down.

His batting average against is way up, as is his ERA and WHIP (walks + hits divided by innings pitched).

He wasn't the only struggling starting pitcher.

Max Scherzer also stunk up the joint with some poor outings, as did Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly.

They were getting rocked on the mound and then the bullpen had its share of troubles holding onto leads late in games.

Phil Coke struggled, Al Alburquerque struggled, Evan Reed struggled and closer Joe Nathan struggled.

Add all those poor pitching performances together and it equaled a lot of losses.

Even the mighty offense couldn't score runs.

They made even the worst pitchers in the American League look like all-stars.

Just when things got really bad, manager Brad Ausmus righted the ship and now the Tigers are playing better baseball.

Winning six straight games and seven-of-nine put the Tigers back in first place in the Central.

Can we expect more peaks and valleys this season, or can the Tigers put their game in high gear and play better.

The Central Division foes, Royals, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins will fade.

I believe the Tigers will play better during the second half of the season and look for a couple of trades to solidify the bullpen and maybe add a bat to the lineup.

They win it by 10 games.

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