At 20-21 the Tigers are nowhere near the place they wanted to be heading into a 10-game road trip to close out an up and down second month of the MLB season. Detroit's 9-10 mark for the month of May mimics the roller-coaster season they've endured at the quarter-season mark.
They enter one of the longest road stretches of the season to finish the month, opening on the road in Cleveland for a three-game set at Progressive Field where Detroit has a tendency to struggle. The Tigers however still sit only three games back from the Indians and with a sweep could find themselves back atop the AL Central before the weekend.
Detroit could further their cause with a series win in the second three-game series of the road trip as they head further west to the Twin Cities to face the Minnesota Twins.
The Twins have already taken two from Detroit this month in a short mid-week two-game series last week at Comerica Park. The Tigers got bounced by baseball's worst team giving up 15 runs in the two game set. Returning the favor on the road would provide Detroit greater distance from the division's basement dwellers.
Finally, Detroit will head to Boston where they will suit up for four-game tilt against the Red Sox, a team they swept in the season-opener and offensive explosion that ignited the Tigers strong 9-3 start—a far too quickly diminished memory for the Bengals' faithful.
The next 10 days are critical to Detroit's first half success—or potential failure—as the the pressure valve tightens on an already tenuous situation in the Motor City.
Here are five critical outcomes the Tigers must have to consider the upcoming 10-game road stretch a success.