When you think Choke, you think San Jose Sharks in the playoffs, when you think cheat you think spy gate and the Patriot. If this season goes the way of the last few years in Detroit, when you think "Detroit Tigers" you will be able to associate them with "second half collapse".
This year the Tigers are hoping that the sequeal is atleast as good if not better than part one of 2009. Though they have started off poorly being swept by the Yankees, and wasting 2 great starts by Verlander and Jackson. The numbers seems to indicate this is the beginning of a sad sack of a second half.
In the last 3 years the Tigers are 99-119 post all star break (thanks Greg Eno for the numbers) and have failed to play over .500 baseball.
Part of the reason for these back half slides is simply that the Tigers cannot stay healthy. Like in 06' when Polanco was on the shelf, or 07' when it was Sheffield's turn.
This year the pitching staff seems to have a case of the "injuries"; Zumya, Bonderman, and Willis* have all missed substantial time.
Despite injuries,The saving grace for the Tigers has been their pitching staff. Though you have to believe that will unravel soon. Verlander and Jackson are expected to keep up their stunning caliber of pitching, but after them, there are more questions than answers in the starting rotation.
Rick Porcello has pitched spectacularly, but who knows when he hits the rookie wall, and if he doesn't, than he has been told he gets 15 more starts, max.
Armando Gallaraga pitched a couple of solid games prior to the all-star break, is he back to his confident self? or will he continue to gift wrap runs in the first couple innings, and help Zach Miner boost his "innings pitched" numbers?
Luke French? Who in the French toast is Luke French?
Detroit's bullpen seems to be holding up when starting pitching gets to the 7th, Bobby Seay has been amazing, Fernando Rodney has been Scarily perfect in save situations, and Brandon Lyon seems to have recovered from early season jitters. Zumaya has been put on the DL, and could miss the rest of the season.
When Tiger pitching fades, what you have is a team that simply cannot score runs. The Tigers have the second most one-run wins in the league, and have started the second half scoring only 5 runs in three games.
Being Swept by the Yankees could be the eye opener the Tigers management needed. Talk around town has been about the tigers bringing in a "Big Bat", which sounds great, and could help,but Instead of one "BIG bat", why not bring in a few average bats? Bring in a couple players to bolster the back-end of the line up and drive in a run or two.
With the Return of Guillen, and a dead line acquisition capable of driving in few runs, the Tigers could be in good shape. Until the the Tigers line up is bolstered,how about laying down a bunt with RISP?
*(Made up injury)