Friday, August 27, 2010

Five reasons why you should officially write off the 2010 Detroit Tigers

By Matt Harding
In Play on Facebook

Is there any way for a sub-.500 team with just over a month to go until the playoffs? There is no glimmer of hope, not even a slight chance. Here are five reasons why you have to officially write off the 2010 Detroit Tigers:

5. Their pitching: Aside from Max Scherzer, Tigers pitching has been making fans moan and groan far too much as of late. Scherzer, the only bright spot in the rotation, allowed only one run on 8/26 against the Blue Jays and has an ERA of 1.91 in his last 10 starts (1.31 in his last six). I know what you're thinking. Why isn't Justin Verlander a "bright spot" in the rotation? Well, while the numbers in his last ten starts are good (4-3, 3.16 ERA, 65 strikeouts), Verlander hasn't possessed that showstopping "ace" quality that he has in past years. He's already surpassed last year's walk totals. And, since when is your #5 starter better than your ace? If that's the case, you don't have a team that's poised to make a playoff run.

4. Their lack of hitting: Their lineup inconsistency plays a huge factor in their lack of hitting. Manager Jim Leyland doesn't have enough cards to shuffle around. Miguel Cabrera is batting .406 in his last 32 at-bats, but he alone can't win games. The Tigers need timely hitting to go along with good pitching. For example, in tonight's loss against the Blue Jays, Ramon Santiago struck out with two men on in the seventh inning. The runner on second was the go-ahead run for the Tigers, but without Santiago knocking him in, the score remained tied. The Jays scored and while the Tigers were able to force extra innings, they weren't able to produce anything else as Aaron Hill's walk-off single won the game.

The Tigers can't rely on Miggy along to carry them
Photo by Matt Harding / In Play! Magazine

3. Their record: Do you realize how bad the Tigers record is? How can we still be talking about playoff chances? At 64-65, even in a crappy AL Central, there is absolutely no shot the Tigers will outduel the Twinkies or White Sox to be crowned champs of the division. We'll say, for example, the Twins and Sox both go .500 (or a game or so above or below) from here on out. The Tigers would have to go 27-7 to win, or perhaps tie, the division. Pretty steep, huh? That's a winning percentage of .794.

2. Their opponent's schedules: The Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox lead the Tigers by 9.5 and 6.5 games, respectively. While it's mathematically possible for the Tigers to catch up to either team, it seems impossible when looking at it logically. The Twins, who've knocked around their division (going 33-18 this season), will play 21 of their last 34 games against the Central. The Sox will be playing majority of their remaining games at home, where they've went 38-25. These types of numbers don't look especially good for the Tigers.

Catcher Joe Mauer, the star of the Minnesota Twins
Photo by Matt Harding / In Play! Magazine

1. Their schedule: Take a look at it! You'll see what I mean. These are teams the Tigers should win against. Of course, the Tigers have never really fared well while facing their own division. Sadly for them, 22 of the last 33 games are against the AL Central. Also, 20 of those final 33 games are on the road. It's well-known that the Tigers play poorly on the road; they've gone 21-40 while away from Comerica Park this season.

[Note: all statistics were thru games of 8/26/10]

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