May 9, 2006


Hungry Tigers regaining bite (Bob Nightengale, 5/9/2006, USA TODAY)

This same team, which had 12 consecutive losing seasons — averaging 100 losses the last five years — and has not been to the postseason since 1987, is sitting with a 20-12 record, second best in the American League.

The Tigers' pitching staff, which has not posted an earned-run average lower than 4.39 since the days of Jack Morris in 1990, entered Monday leading the majors with a 3.38 ERA.

The starting rotation, led by Kenny Rogers (5-2), ranks first in the majors with a 3.47 ERA, yielding the third-lowest opposing batting average (.239) while accumulating the third-most innings. The bullpen leads the AL with a 3.16 ERA and until last Saturday had not blown a save. It was only the second time the Tigers blew a lead after the second inning.

The offense, despite playing in one of the most pitching-friendly ballparks, has hit more home runs (50) than any team. It's the most Detroit has hit at this stage of a season since 1960.

Jim Leyland, the Tigers' sixth manager since 1998, is so committed to turning this franchise around that he is moving from his longtime home in Pittsburgh to Detroit.

Now if Magglio can just stay healthy....

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 9, 2006 7:42 AM

The key line here is "The starting rotation, led by Kenny Rogers..." As Texas Ranger, New York Yankee, New York Met and Oakland A's fans know, that will get you to August fine, but from there on, you better have someone else available to pitch the key games if you want to play well into October.

Posted by: John at May 9, 2006 9:45 AM

Rogers will be the weakest link. This rotation is going to get lots better; it's very young. This team is very similar to the Pistons of 2001. This team is four more turns through the rotation from being utterly dominating. God help the American League after that.

Posted by: Pamcroft at May 9, 2006 11:04 AM

With 32 games played they're 2 1/2 games behind the defending World Champion Chicago White Sox. Now that Contreras has wisely decided to get rested for the back half of the season it's a cinch that Detroit will end up 10 games out by season's end. It's tough being in the Central Division with the best AL competition in baseball.

Hey Orrin, why don't you schedule a visit to Chicago in October and I'll see if we can't get you some tickets to the World Series.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at May 9, 2006 11:39 AM

The Orioles were looking pretty sweet at this time last year.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at May 9, 2006 11:40 AM

Your cited article also contains the following quote, "Maroth entered last week with a 4-1 record and a 1.78 ERA, second in the major leagues to Jose Contreras of the Chicago White Sox," and doesn't that just say it all?

Their pitching staff as a whole is also second to the White Sox and Magglio is a one of our better castoffs.

Posted by: Ray Clutts at May 9, 2006 11:45 AM

The first three pitchers picked between the two staffs would be Verlander, Bonderman, Zumaya.

Posted by: oj at May 9, 2006 12:21 PM