It’s common for professional sports teams to disappoint their fan bases and occasionally they pleasantly surprise the members of their faithful. However, it’s not nearly as common for a team to take it’s fans on a roller coaster ride of a season filled with a string of both disappointments and pleasant surprises. Yet that’s exactly what the Detroit Tigers did in 2012.
After being picked to run away with the American League Central, the Tigers barely held off the Chicago White Sox to win the division with a record of 88-74. Detroit got hot at the right time and a late-season surge secured the division crown and a playoff berth. Then after a 7-2 start to the postseason, Detroit was the heavy favorite heading into the World Series, but got stymied by a hungry San Francisco Giants team that swept the Tigers 4-0.
Now after a long reality check of an offseason, the Tigers are refocusing for another title run in 2013. They already had a star-studded lineup, but the additions of Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez will make the Tigers’ top five slots lethal with Austin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder already there. In other words, Detroit shouldn’t have any problem scoring runs this year.
The Tigers also have one of the best rotations in all of baseball, anchored by arguably the game’s best pitcher in Justin Verlander. Like their lineup, the Tigers made their rotation even better this offseason with the addition of Anibal Sanchez, so they should be solid on defense as well.
The only thing left for the Tigers is execution. They can’t get off to another slow start and they sure can’t rely on a hot streak at the right time again or they’ll come up short like they did in last year’s Fall Classic.