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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Tigers roller coaster season provides hope

Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez
Don’t look now Tiger fans, but the Tigers are back! Wait, never mind. No, now they really are!

To say this season has been a roller coaster would be an understatement. They win 6 of their first 8 games to start the season, lose 11 of 13 in May, then pull off another 6 wins in their last 8 games. This season has been full of ups and downs. Anibal Sanchez, who was thought to be a dependable third starter, is now in the bullpen. Mike Pelfrey has been a dud of an off-season signing with a 1-6 record with a 4.68 ERA and 1.71 WHIP. Justin Upton has arguably been even worse, he has perked up lately, but is still batting an ugly .224. The base running blunders and inconsistent bullpen still haunt the team. Really? Still…the bullpen!? The overall pitching staff currently slates 12th in the AL with a 4.30 ERA. The offense has been consistently inconsistent, posting 11 runs against the Blue Jays on June 6th, only to get blanked by the Yankees two games later.

Then, there have been some pleasant surprises. Nick Castellanos burst on the scene batting .363 in April. Even after struggling through a slump, is still hitting .309 with 12 HR and 36 RBI. Ian Kinsler has been steady as they come, earning the nickname “Everyday Ian” thanks to Tigers’ radio announcer Jim Price. Victor Martinez is proving doubters wrong as he is currently 5th in the majors with a .335 average. Justin Zimmermann has been stellar and Justin Verlander is becoming “must see JV” again, sporting a 1.93 ERA in his last 7 games. And let’s not forget rookie phenom Michael Fulmer, who went three consecutive starts with at least 7 IP, allowing 3 earned runs or less.

So which team is this Tiger squad closer to being? The disappointing, inconsistent team, or the pleasantly surprising group? As it stands now, the Tigers are 31-30, tied for 2nd in the AL Central, 3.5 games back of the Indians. Not too shabby for only being one game over the .500 mark. A few wins against those Indians, 0-6 vs Cleveland on the year, and the Tigers could be in 1st place.

Baseball is a humbling game, making sure to not let you get too up or too down. The Tigers definitely have the talent to win and have shown, especially in the month of June, they have the fight and the grit. Even though this season may have more twists and turns than a Cedar Point roller coaster, hold on Tigers fans, it’s going to be a fun ride.

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