The Tigers have been a fairly consistent team this year. Their longest winning streak is five, their longest losing streak is four. They have not had a losing month, but they have not won more than 15 games in a month. Everyone seems to think they've been fairly mediocre this year, but are a sleeping giant that could go on a run at any point. Thirteen of their next fifteen games are against teams at .500 or worse, so its possible that run begins tonight.
Except they're playing the plucky Royals! As Dayton Moore suggests, there is NO REASON we couldn't win fifteen of our next twenty games. NO REASON! Aside from not having very good players, he's absolutely right!
The Tigers boast the league's second best offense, averaging over five runs per game. Six of their nine regulars sport above average OPS+ numbers, with only disappointing former All-Star Alex Avila, aging Victor Martinez, and left-fielder Andy Dirks as the black holes in the lineup. Dirks has begun sitting in favor of minor league free agent Matt Tuiasosopo who sports a ridiculous 1.070 OPS, although in about 100 plate appearances. Its kind of odd that a team that spends so much on top-shelf talent has gone this long with a revolving door of suck in left field - Dirks, Quintin Berry, Brenann Bosch, Ryan Raburn, Marcus Thames, Craig Monroe. Where have you gone Bobby Higginson, the Motor City turns its lonely eye to you. Woo, woo, woo.
Miguel Cabrera is the obvious hitter the Royals need to look out for, as he's having another MVP-type season with a .365/.458/.674 30 HR 95 RBI season. Prince Fielder is having a down year, but its still good for .267/.363/.457 with 16 dingers. The Tigers as a team are second in the league in on-base percentage and third in slugging. They are dead last in stolen bases, so its amazing they've scored all those runs without being aggressive on the basepaths!
Detroit's biggest weakness is obviously their bullpen. Their reliever ERA is 4.15, twelfth in the league. Closer Joaquin Benoit has been solid and former starter Drew Smyly has been good, but everyone else in the pen sports ERAs over five. The starters have been very good, leading the league in starters ERA at 3.73 and in most strikeouts per nine, with almost a strikeout per inning. Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, and Max Scherzer have all been tremendous at missing bats this year and even groundball specialist Rick Porcello is having a career year in strikeouts.
The Tigers are an obviously much better team, and to think the Royals can catch them with one or two good weeks seems ridiculous. The best we can hope for is Detroit's bankruptcy filing leads the city to have to be forced to sell assets and we get Miguel Cabrera in foreclosure. Heck, I'd take a rundown Don Kelly as a fixer-upper.