10 Things to Know About the Detroit Tigers Heading into 2013 ALDS

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10 Things to Know About the Detroit Tigers Heading into ALDS 2013

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Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers are an enigma. They are feared by all opponents yet enrages its fan base. The differing views of the Tigers and the season they have put together can be hard to explain, but with these 10 things, you will have a better understanding as to who exactly the Detroit Tigers are and what you can expect from them in the playoffs and in the ALDS against the Oakland Athletics.

The 10 things I picked are going to seem negative at first, but you are going to also see toward the end why so many people have the Tigers as one of the teams to beat in this postseason. There is tremendous upside mixed with a downside that continuously shows its head at the worst times for this team. It leaves fans with both excitement and a fear that they could see their team embarrassingly taken out of the playoffs before it even begins.

Knowing the things I'm about to list about the Detroit Tigers will help you get a fuller picture as to this team's strengths and its biggest weaknesses. In some ways, you can cherry-pick its strengths as clear indicators of a team that is going to win the World Series, while you could also cherry-pick the negatives as a way to show that this team will not get out of the first round. Instead of cherry-picking, especially since it is not the season for cherries, here is the entire picture for you to look at and decide for yourself.

Brent Smith is a Detroit Tigers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @brentweets or add him to your network on Google

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10. They Have A Shallow Bench

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Peter Aiken- USA TODAY Sports

I don't mean shallow in terms of vanity, but shallow as in there is no one off the bench that Jim Leyland is really going to be looking at unless there is an injury. The bench has not performed well this year and really needs to be avoided if the Tigers are going to succeed.

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9. Their Bullpen Is A Roller Coaster

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Greg M. Cooper- USA TODAY Sports

It's the same every year. The Tigers' bullpen is a roller coaster no one wants to ride, but it's forced upon fans anyway. There is a bit more stability in the back of the ride, but the front is just as thrilling and vomit-inducing as the past.

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8. They Have Drama

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Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

Will Jhonny Peralta play? Will he play outfield? Will he be benched? Will he see his shadow? The questions about Peralta are going to be a major focal point of how the Tigers handle their adversity in October.

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7. They Have No Left Fielder

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Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

They have a Prince Fielder, but the Tigers have no stable left fielder, which is a major concern in both the lineup and for defense. The Jhonny Peralta experiment could fill this need, or it could just deepen the hole already caused by it. This is one of the biggest hurdles the Tigers must clear.

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6. Their Offense Struggles To Score Runs

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Rick Osentoski- USA TODAY Sports

Statistically, the Tigers have hid behind some big games earlier on, but the Tigers' offense is not as efficient as those outside would think. The Tigers were shut out more times this year than in recent history and were really baffling over the last few weeks.

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5. They Have An Old Manager

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Brace Hemmelgarn- USA TODAY Sports

Old as in he is going to be an old-school, "trust my players"-type manager. Also, old as in age-wise.

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4. Torii Hunter Is Their Clubhouse Leader

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Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

A lot of people think Prince Fielder or Miguel Cabrera is the clubhouse leader, but it is newcomer Torii Hunter who has taken over as the vocal leader of the bunch. His leadership could be the difference in pushing the Tigers over the top this season.

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3. They Have The Best Defensive Shortstop

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Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

The trade for Jose Iglesias was a fantastic one for the organization, and now a weakness as turned into a giant strength. The combo of Jose Iglesias and Omar Infante is huge in negating the defensive struggles of Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera.

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2. They Have The Best Starting Rotation

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Rick Osentoski- USA TODAY Sports

Some will argue this point, but there is really no argument from top to bottom. The Detroit Tigers have the best no. 1 through no. 4 starters in all of baseball, and have a chance to make a deep run just on that strength alone.

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1. They Have The Best Hitter In The Game

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Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

If the staff can't do it alone, they have the best hitter in the game to rely on in Miguel Cabrera. No more words could be used to describe one of the best hitters that this planet has ever seen, and the Tigers will be riding him as far as they can this postseason.

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