Why the Second Half Will Be Detroit Tigers' Time to Shine
With an 8-2 record in their last 10 games dating back to before the All-Star break, the Tigers are well on their way to catapulting themselves atop the AL Central.
Detroit's offense is currently heating up while their starting pitchers are slowly beginning to solidify themselves as reliable starters.
While Detroit is currently in the midst of several trade rumors, no one really knows what move or moves Dave Dombrowski will make as the trade deadline looms less than two weeks away.
This Tigers team is becoming very fun to watch, and the coming weeks may be even more exciting still.
Here are five reasons why the Tigers will continue to improve their play on the way to a division title and postseason berth.
Cabrera and Fielder
While this is an incredibly obvious statement, it is impossible to note the Tigers' current and future successes without mentioning the best hitting tandem in all of baseball.
Even though these two cannot be asked to put the team on their backs and carry them into the postseason, they are doing their best to take advantage of every opportunity they are given.
The numbers simply speak for themselves, as Cabrera has a .327 BA with 20 home runs, 74 RBI and a .949 OPS. As for Fielder, he is hitting .303 with 15 home runs, 65 RBI and a .887 OPS.
The Tigers are becoming a very exciting team to watch, and there is no doubting the fact that these two young players are a major reason why.
If these two continue to keep up their torrid pace as the AL Central race really heats up, Detroit will have a great chance to take over the division and bash their way into the postseason.
Is there anyone on this Tigers team who is having more fun than Quintin Berry?
Anyone who watches a game can see that Berry is taking full advantage of the chance to play at the big league level.
While his batting average has begun to drop off slightly, he is still hitting a robust .292 while adding a critical element to the Tigers offense, which is his speed.
He is currently 14-for-14 in stolen base attempts; more interestingly, he is the only player ranked in the top 20 stolen base leaders in the American League who has not been caught stealing.
Once he reaches base, he gives opposing pitchers a fit because they must do whatever they can to keep him at first, and Berry has done an exceptional job at improving his timing and his jump when he steals second or third.
Quintin Berry's added element to the Tigers offense and defense will no doubt help to propel this team to the top of the AL Central.
Look for Berry to keep impressing at the plate, on the base paths and in the outfield throughout the 2012 season.
After a rocky start on and off the field, Delmon Young is beginning to make his presence felt in the No. 5 spot of the lineup.
Young is currently hitting .274 with 39 RBI; however, he has amassed 61 strikeouts and only nine walks.
His improvement can be seen in his plate presence. While there is no questioning the fact that Young often loves to swing at the first pitch, he is beginning to create better hitting counts for himself.
This improvement is also seen in his current 10-game hitting streak, which was continued after going 1-for-4 with an RBI in the win against the Angels on Wednesday.
It will be critical for Young to continue to hit the ball well as the season progresses and games become more important.
Because of Young's improvement, opposing pitchers are beginning to find it hard to pitch around Prince Fielder in order to get to Delmon Young.
If Young can continue to improve at this pace, he will create an incredibly formidable three through five combination in the middle of Detroit's lineup.
Since Young is practically playing for a contract at this point, expect his improvement to continue and become the vital asset the Tigers acquired during August of 2011.
Scherzer, Porcello and Fister
Everyone knows what Verlander provides when he is on the mound, but it will be the performances of Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Doug Fister that propel the Tigers to the postseason.
Doug Fister has begun to improve recently, as he posted a season-high 10 strikeouts and one earned run in a dominant victory over the Angels on Wednesday. He is beginning to find his stride and will create an incredible duo with Verlander as the season continues.
Max Scherzer has shown signs of greatness, but he has also struggled mightily at certain points this season. For example, on June 17, Scherzer went eight innings with no earned runs and a whopping 12 strikeouts against the Colorado Rockies. At the same time, on July 14, he went only five innings with four earned runs and only four strikeouts. If Scherzer can become more consistent with his dominant performances, he will join Fister and Verlander as one of the top pitching trios in baseball.
Rick Porcello has been an enigma since his rookie year. He has the ability to be one of the best pitchers on the Tigers staff and has shown glimpses of this during 2012. For example, on June 30, Porcello went seven innings with no earned runs while only giving up four hits. However, he also gave up five earned runs in only 5.2 innings in his last start against the Angels. Porcello needs to find his stride and eat up some critical innings in order for the Tigers to have a chance to surpass the White Sox in the division.
In the end, these three pitchers will be incredibly pivotal to Detroit's playoff chances, and I believe they will perform up to or beyond expectations as the season progresses.
Detroit has become one of the primary teams involved in trade talks this month.
From a starting pitcher to a second baseman to a right-handed hitting outfielder, the Tigers are looking to make one or many moves in order to help the team advance this season and beyond.
Anyone familiar with Dave Dombrowski knows that he does not tip his hand when it comes to acquiring other players. At the same time, even though rumors are surrounding this team, the Tigers GM has often pulled the trigger on trades that no one expected.
A popular name swirling around is Omar Infante; the Tigers may be looking to reacquire the second baseman from Miami. Another name that is springing up when it comes to second base is the Cubs' Darwin Barney.
As for starting pitchers, the Tigers have been linked to everyone from Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, James Shields and Cole Hamels.
Finally, Detroit has also been rumored to be a possible destination for Arizona's young power hitter Justin Upton.
No matter who the Tigers actually acquire, the player or players brought in will undoubtedly help them advance to the top of the AL Central.
Look for the Tigers to make one or more moves in the coming weeks, as excitement is beginning to rise in Motown with each day that passes since the Tigers are heating up and the trade deadline sits only 12 days away.