Are The Tigers Actual Contenders This Year?
Friday night's game at the Colorado Rockies marks the official halfway point of the baseball season for the Detroit Tigers. It is actually game 81 of the 162 game regular season.
And heading into the game, the Tigers are 35-45. That's not disastrous, but not very good, either. And yet, because the Tigers are in the awful American League Central (And I mean AWFUL), they are only four games behind Minnesota and Cleveland (who are basically tied for 1st as of the morning of June 30th). That's right, FOUR games!!! That's it.
Because they are so close to the division lead, they are in a bit of a predicament. If they were in either of the other two divisions, they'd be in full-on sell mode. If they were in the AL East, they'd be 19 games behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays. And if they were in the AL West, they'd be 13 1/2 games behind the team they just got done playing, the Texas Rangers. But they're not, they're in the AL Central. So what do you do if you're GM Scott Harris? Buy? Sell? Stand pat?
Now, if you've watched or listened to the team, you can see/hear that they aren't close to being actual contenders for the World Series. They're not a very good team. Not as bad as Oakland or Kansas City, but not very good. But the rules state that if you win your division, you are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. Regardless of what your overall record is.
And remember another thing, starting pitchers Tarik Skubal (pictured above), Eduardo Rodriguez, Beau Briske, and Alex Faedo are getting close to returning to the rotation (they are all on rehab assignments in the minors right now). And outfielders Riley Greene and Akil Baddoo might be back before August. Getting these guys back would be like getting free agent acquisitions right in the middle of the season.
READ MORE: It's Not Sell! Sell! Sell! But...
The Tigers play two last-place teams coming up. Colorado on the road and Oakland at home. They then host Toronto (an actual good team) before the All-Star break. The next nine games may decide what Scott Harris does before the trade deadline.
But the Tigers are actually going to play meaningful July baseball, Which hasn't been done since 2016, where they just missed the playoffs on the last day of the season. That is a tangible sign of progress.
But pinch me, The Tigers are still in it!