July 14, 2005
HOW ABOUT, HAPPY TO HAVE BEEN SERVED?:
Slow July might prompt changes for Tigers (GENE GUIDI, July 14, 2005, Detroit FREE PRESS)
Whenever the Tigers stumbled in the first half of the season, they were quick to point out there was plenty of time left to accomplish something meaningful.
Guess what? Time's up.
There are 76 games left, but the Tigers' window of opportunity is smaller. If the team doesn't show president and general manager Dave Dombrowski they are legitimate wild-card contenders by the trade deadline at month's end, it would be no surprise to see him shed a few players with an eye toward '06.
To be legitimate contenders, the Tigers must get to .500 and keep going, something they've been unable to do.
The Tigers enter the second half tonight at 42-44. They must kick it in gear or Dombrowski might start taking offers for right-hander Jason Johnson and outfielder Rondell White, both pending free agents.
Without Johnson and White, the chances of making a late rush to win the wild card would diminish -- especially since 16 of their remaining 23 series are against teams that reached the All-Star break at .500 or better.
What if the Tigers get hot the rest of this month?
While that likely would discourage Dombrowski from getting rid of players who could help in the short term, it doesn't follow that the Tigers automatically would become buyers at the trade deadline.
The Tigers like their squad, especially since they called up first baseman Chris Shelton from Triple-A Toledo and traded for second baseman Placido Polanco.
That's not to say if the Tigers surged into serious contention that Dombrowski wouldn't seek a player who might help.
But with Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez back in the middle of the lineup, this is a team the Tigers think they can win with.
On paper, the Tigers are as strong as they've been in years. But they still lose too many winnable games. They must start stealing a few games, like the White Sox and Yankees did to them on the Tigers' last home stand.
While injuries contributed to the sub-.500 record in the first half, the Tigers' record should be better. The pitching has been unexpectedly good, but an inconsistent offense wasted too many good outings.
Watching the Tigers in the first half, fans wonder: Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
They're within two games of .500 and not out of the playoff hunt after several years of being dreadful, plus their young players generally look terrific and they've some power arms still coming through the minors--whay more could Tiger fans have asked of 2005? Posted by Orrin Judd at July 14, 2005 6:04 AM