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Preseason Prediction: 96-66 (first place, AL Central)
Current Record: 44-42 (third place, AL Central)
The Tigers have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball this year, in a negative way. Most writers, this one included, projected the team to run away with the AL Central after a trip to the ALCS in 2011.
But the Tigers have been what their record says they have been: remarkably average.
The offense has been fine, led by Austin Jackson (.332, 9 HR, 38 RBI), Miguel Cabrera (.324, 18 HR, 71 RBI) and offseason acquisition Prince Fielder (.299, 15 HR, 63 RBI), but has otherwise been unremarkable.
The pitching has been just fine, too. Justin Verlander is 9-5 with a 2.58 ERA and has run his streak of consecutive starts of six or more innings to 59 starts. Otherwise, their rotation has been very average. Doug Fister, who provided a spark last summer after being acquired from Seattle, has missed time with injuries and is 2-6 with a 4.75 ERA. Their other three starters, Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer and Drew Smyly, have ERAs of 4.47, 4.72 and 4.42, respectively.
The Tigers haven't been bad, but they haven't lived up to expectations.
I think their pitching is better than it has performed and they are poised to make a second-half run, especially after winning five in a row to end the first half. I could see them going 41-35 in the second half, but unfortunately, they were only .500 in the first half, which would leave them on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
Updated Prediction: 87-75 (second place, AL Central)