5 Biggest Issues Facing Detroit Tigers In 2014 Stretch Run

5 Biggest Issues Facing Detroit Tigers In 2014 Stretch Run

Tigers Dugout
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Not so long ago, the Detroit Tigers were thought to be a lock to win their fourth consecutive AL Central title, but they currently find themselves a game and a half behind the Kansas City Royals in their respective division and just a half game ahead of the Seattle Mariners for the second AL Wild Card spot. Here are the five biggest issues/questions the Tigers will be facing on their playoff push.

5. Can The Tigers Win At Home?

Torii iHunter
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5. Can The Tigers Win At Home?

Torii Hunter
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In contrast to last season when the Tigers finished the year with a record of 51-30 at home, they stand just four games above the .500 mark at home this season with a record of 33-29 at Comerica Park. They will need to start playing a little better at home as the season winds down.

4. Do The Tigers Have Enough Hitting?

Miguel Cabrera
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4. Do The Tigers Have Enough Hitting?

Miguel Cabrera
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the fact that the Tigers rank first in the AL with a .271 batting average and have names such as Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez and Ian Kinsler in their lineup, there have been times this season where their offense has been non-existent. Thursday's game when David Price pitched an absolute gem but the Tigers ended up losing 1-0 is a great example of how anemic their offense can be.

3. Will The Tigers' Bullpen Hold?

Nathan Holaday
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3. Will The Tigers' Bullpen Hold?

Nathan Holaday
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers' bullpen has been a disaster this season, posting a 4.37 ERA that ranks 27th in MLB. For a comparison, Kansas City's relievers have posted an ERA over a full run lower at 3.36. One of the bullpen's biggest problems this season has been Joe Nathan, who has been unable to replicate the success he had with the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers. Nathan is currently sporting a 5.28 ERA with six blown saves.

2. Can The Tigers Overcome Their Injuries?

Joakim Soria
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

2. Can The Tigers Overcome Their Injuries?

Joakim Soria
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers currently have several key players who are sidelined with injuries at the moment, including starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez and newly-acquired relief pitcher Joakim Soria. Other players such as Bruce Rondon, Joel Hanrahan, Jose Iglesias and Andy Dirks have been out for the entire season. Justin Verlander has also been nursing a sore shoulder and has not pitched since Aug. 11. The Tigers have definitely been bitten by the injury bug.

1. Can Brad Ausmus Handle The Heat?

Ausmus
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1. Can Brad Ausmus Handle The Heat?

Ausmus
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Many have begun to wonder what the future might hold for Tigers' rookie manager Brad Ausmus if the Tigers miss the postseason this year. The 45-year-old manager will be tested in the coming weeks, and it should prove to be a big moment in the young manager's career.