American League Central Preview: Can Anyone Stop the Tribe?
#2 Detroit Tigers
The Tigers in a way have become a soon forgotten team in the AL Central. It was not too long ago when Detroit had rattled off four consecutive division titles. Their last coming in 2014, Detroit has not made the playoffs since. They are ready to roar in 2017 as they have a lineup filled with aging veterans that are still producing at a very high level.
Former triple crown winner Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and J.D. Martinez round out the three through five spots in the batting lineup for Detroit. While the Tigers will have no problem scoring runs, it will be starting pitching and most importantly bullpen struggles that will have the Tigers fighting for contention all year. Justin Verlander has returned to ace status and 2016 AL Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer poses as a strong number two for the foreseeable future. Jordan Zimmermann is in line to be a potential comeback of the year candidate and Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd round out a shaky fourth and fifth spot in the rotation. With a powerful offense and solid starting pitching that should be enough for Detroit right? Detroit’s bullpen has done them in several times over the last several seasons.
Aging closer Francisco Rodriguez is on the decline, and Justin Wilson will attempt the hold the late innings for Detroit. Although you can slate in Detroit as a number one wildcard seed if all goes as planned, the team from Ohio just has too much talent for Detroit to catch up too.