Heading into the 2012 season, the Detroit Tigers were not only favorites to easily win the mediocre AL Central, but to compete in the World Series as well. So far, things have not gone according to plan in Motown.
Miguel Cabrera is putting up historic numbers, Prince Fielder has been worth the investment and the starting rotation has been mostly solid, but with a variety of under-performing players on board, the Tigers find themselves 2.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox.
These are not your 2011 Chicago White Sox, either.
With Alex Rios apparently finally reaching his long-awaited potential, A.J. Pierzynski having a career year, Adam Dunn making his return to form and Paul Konerko remaining consistent, the White Sox are not only capitalizing on the Tigers' struggles, but making a name for themselves in the American League.
Detroit is certainly still part of the conversation in the AL Central, but October is coming on fast and the days where the phrase "it's still early" once applied are long gone.
If Detroit wants to make the playoffs, and avoid the threatening wild-card game, these are the things they must do to storm back and take control of the AL Central.