After getting back up to .500 a couple weeks ago the Tigers hit the skids big time against Cleveland, the division leaders to slide all the way back to a few games under .500. Then they were able to take a series from the Yankees, and the Blue Jays. Today they took the second game against the Twins to leap back up to one game over .500.
It seems that the Tigers always have a strange time with hovering around .500 the last few years. Almost always when they get there a big time slump comes on.
I'm not sure if this time will be the same. The hitting is really coming on, and the pitching in the rotation has really picked up, BUT the bullpen has been mediocre. The big signing of Benoit has turned sour recently. He has given up as many ERs already this season as he did the entire season last year that got him his big payday.
Al Alburquerque started off with a bang. Striking out nearly 2 batters per inning. HE has done this with basically one pitch. His odd slider that he has good control with. The problem is that he has a mid 90s fastball, but has absolutely no confidence in it. Shaking off the catcher anytime it is called and reverting back to that slider. Today he got wild, and ended up being charged with 3 ERs although they were let a crossed by Schlereth. AA's problem has always been control, and it was on display today with 3 BBs in 0.2 of an inning. Unless this guy can start throwing that fastball, he may end up being a very mediocre RP.
Victor Martinez has been on fire. Expected though since he is a great hitter and a career .300, ok .299 hitter so I expected him to make an impact here. He has with an 11 game hitting streak. The biggest, and frankly shocking surprise this year has been Alex Avila. This guy looked like a career .230 hitter before this season. Timid at the plate and scared of the ball for some reason. Now he looks like an All-star. I'm not sure if he can keep this up, but man it is nice to see a guy of only 24 look like he may have a future at C for us.
I think we have a team good enough to win this division at least. The Rotation I thought had a chance to be very good, and it appears that it is starting to look that way. The bullpen was a worry, and still is. Perry, Benoit, Schlereth, and even AA are all guys I am not convinced are going to be great impacts for us.