The Detroit Tigers now find themselves one game away from being eliminated from the playoffs. And as they look up from the hole they have dug themselves they can only really look in the mirror as to why they have wound up here. The hitting has been anemic, the pitching — outside of their workhorses Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Joaquin Benoit — has been shaky at best, and the defense has found its struggles as well. Take nothing away from the Oakland Athletics, but it is the Tigers’ fault and the Tigers’ fault alone as to why the Tigers will now be playing for their playoff lives.
The Tigers always seem to find this glitch in its high priced roster, but it usually comes in the World Series. This is the team that confusingly sleepwalked through the World Series last season even matching the 20 consecutive innings of no runs that the team posted last year. Something about this roster doesn’t click even as some of the names change and the lineup alters. Something about this team just cannot sustain long periods of time with productive hitting. You could blame the Miguel Cabrera injury, that is a valid concern, but why can’t a lineup with Torii Hunter, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez work around that? There have been far less talented lineups able to produce. Why is this team always finding itself sinking on offense?
I wish I had the answers, but it seems like a system wide problem. The Tigers do not take pitches, they do not show patience and they seem to press at every opportunity. Does that mean it’s the hitting coach Lloyd McClendon‘s fault? Is it Jim Leyland‘s fault? Is it Dave Dombrowski‘s fault? What about the players, is it their fault? So much finger pointing, so little winning, but if this play continues the finger pointing will come to an end because there will be no more games left to finger point. The Tigers have their backs against the wall; they caused this mess, and now they are going to have to find their way out of it.