By Greg Bowman
When your power goes out, you probably call DTE Energy or Consumers to get it back on. The Tigers need to report a power outage of their own, but I don’t think the utility company can help. The Tigers are going through another one of those slumps where they just can’t seem to score any runs.
Fortunately, they had ace Justin Verlander on the mound Sunday, so he was able to hold the Pirates to just two runs while the Tigers were scoring three. Verlander’s complete game performance, his fourth of the season, helped the Tigers avoid a sweep at the hand of the Pirates, who have been playing much better baseball this season. The three runs on Sunday came after the Tigers managed just one run on Friday and one run on Saturday. And it took them ten innings to score two runs on Thursday to squeak out a two to one win.
Despite the scoring drought, the Tigers have been playing better lately, and have gotten strong starting pitching to win four straight series before coming up short in Pittsburgh. The top of the lineup has been strong, with Austin Jackson and surprising Quintin Berry providing a real spark. But the Tigers’ best hitter Miguel Cabrera has been in a slump, allowing pitchers to pitch around Prince Fielder. And the rest of the lineup, from Delmon Young, to Jhonny Peralta, Brennan Boesch and Alex Avilla, have just not been getting the job done. And the Tigers still don’t have a regular second baseman. Let’s face it, pitchers don’t fear facing Ryan Rayburn, Ramon Santiago, or Danny Worth.
The Tigers would love to pick up some more offense in a trade, but they don’t have a lot to offer in return. And they would be reluctant to part with prize prospects Jacob Turner or Nick Castellanos. Let’s hope Dave Dombrowski can pull another rabbit out of his hat like he did last season when he got Doug Fister and Delmon Young without giving up much.
I still think the Tigers will win the Central Division, mainly because they have the most talent in the division and I don’t see the Indians or White Sox running away with it. But the playoffs are another matter. The Tigers could get a preview of another Championship Series when they head to Texas this week to take on Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers. The Tigers still need to prove that they can match up against a team that has a deadly combination of offense and pitching. And unfortunately, Justin Verlander won’t be on the mound against the Rangers. Maybe those 100 degree temperatures down in Arlington will help heat up the Tigers’ cold bats.