Three and a half weeks ago the Detroit Tigers had just acquired star pitcher David Price and were coming off a weekend sweep of the Colorado Rockies. At that time they held a five-game lead in the AL Central and things were good to say the least in Detroit.
Fast-forward to now and the Tigers are fighting to make the playoffs any way they can. They now trail the Kansas City Royals by 2.5 games in the Central and sit a half game behind the Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card spot. The team has been very inconsistent with a 10-13 record since Aug. 4, and they are no longer a team to feared like they were a few weeks ago.
After the Tigers nabbed Price, there was plenty of hype focused around the team instantly becoming one of the favorites to make the World Series. The stacked starting pitching that the Tigers boasted at the time was the main reason they looked like a scary team heading down the stretch. Unfortunately for Detroit, the starting pitching doesn’t look as glamorous as it did in the beginning of the month.
Justin Verlander hasn’t had a good season and is also in the midst of a shoulder injury that has caused him to miss two starts. Anibal Sanchez led the AL in ERA last season and has been just as solid this year, but a pectoral injury has his year in danger. After a recent setback, the odds are that Sanchez will not pitch again in 2014. To follow that up, Price had arguably his worst start of his career last night against the New York Yankees. Price went just two innings and gave up eight runs on 12 hits. So obviously all is not well in Detroit right now, but the Tigers can only hope that Price can bounce back from him horrendous outing.
As for the offense, that isn’t as dangerous as it once looked either. Miguel Cabrera has his lowest batting average since 2008 when he joined the Tigers. What’s more important is that Cabrera has been bothered by an ankle injury that has taken away some of his power at the plate and his ability to run. The offense as a whole has been inconsistent, but Cabrera is the key player to make their offense thrive. The problem is that with Detroit in such tight races, it doesn’t give them the chance to sit Cabrera in hopes of resting him for October.
All of these reasons lead to the conclusion that the Tigers are very vulnerable right now. Instead of being a lock for another AL Central title, the Tigers find themselves in multiple playoff battles. They might still secure a playoff spot, but they no longer look to be the powerhouse team that people thought they could be when they acquired Price.