By: Bob Wojnowski
You want me to say it. I know you do. I’m essentially a trained seal, and this is about the time I’d be bellowing something about panic in a place called Tigertown.
Not gonna do it. Not yet.
The offense has been abysmal. The record is mediocre, 15-15. The defense is below-average. The bullpen is wildly inconsistent.
So why am I holding off on the bellowing? Simple: The starting pitching has been excellent of late.
I’m not here to make you feel better about the Tigers. They are painful to watch right now. I’m here to offer some basic baseball perspective. You’d much, much rather have the pitching be good and the hitting fall apart than the other way around.
I know that’s scant consolation as they labor to scrape out two runs per game. But with the emergence of rookie lefty Drew Smyly (ERA: 1.59) and the return of Doug Fister (ERA: 0.00), all of a sudden the Tigers have a very nice rotation.
They’ve gotten eight straight quality starts overall out of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Fister and Smyly. Granted, they’ve wasted half of those with their anemic offense, and the issues aren’t easily resolved.
But Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder will hit more, and Austin Jackson already is hitting. As bad as the lineup has been, the rotation is keeping the Tigers afloat. Between grumbles about all the swings-and-misses, take a deep breath, watch the Tigers’ starters, and sit tight for now. When it’s time to panic, I’ll let you know.