Detroit Tigers Pushing Back to Respectability, Getting Healthy

Nicky G GiammarcoContributor IJune 19, 2008

It finally looks as if the Detroit Tigers may be rounding back into form, or any form for that matter.

Their starting pitching has stabilized with strong performances by Kenny Rogers, Armando Galarraga, and the return to dominance of Justin Verlander. 

Even with the loss of Jeremy Bonderman and the demotion of Dontrelle Willis, the young arms that have been called up have performed moderately, if not admirably, well. 

The bats are also heating up, with Marcus Thames leading the way, hitting six home runs in five straight games, giving him eight for the month of June.

Thames has emerged as a true power hitter, and a legitimate threat when given everyday play. He is a big bat that can come off the bench at any point in the game.  His play has sparked the rest of the team, as second baseman Placido Polanco is doing it all again, batting .397 with 10 RBI in 15 June games. 

Edgar Renteria has shown that his first year in the American League with the Red Sox was a fluke.  He is hitting at a solid contribution for the Tigers, and comes up with some clutch at bats when the rest of the team may be struggling. 

He just knocked out his 2000th career hit, and it's very likely that he can reach 3000 someday.  He's got the durability and the skill to stay in the majors a while longer. 

With the rising presence of fireballer Freddy Dolsi out of the bullpen late in games, Fernando Rodney should not be rushed back, as proven the other night.  His fastball is just not up to par yet. 

There may be something in his mechanics, or a lack of self confidence, but his first appearance of the season was an unmemorable one and there is no need to rush him back.

Joel Zumaya pitched well during his rehab assignment, and as long as he is eased back into the bullpen, he will be the electric force once again. 

The Tigers bullpen has been strong, and getting Zumaya back healthy and in control of his 100 mph fastball will make the bullpen that much better.  Both Zumaya and Rodney healthy could spell big trouble for the AL Central.

When Curtis Granderson and Miguel Cabrera get going, this team will jump right back into that battle for first.  The team as a whole has a record of 8-2 in their past ten games, and an 11-6 mark for the month. 

The weather is heating up and so is the race in the AL Central.  The White Sox need to start looking over their shoulders, because the Tigers won't be going down without a fight.