The Detroit Tigers were the feel-good story of last season. Two years after losing 119 games, they were in the World Series. This year Sports Illustrated has them picked to finish 2nd in the very tough AL Central and Jason Stark of ESPN has them winning it all.
I say the Tigers will be a .500 team at best.
Yes, the lineup was loaded last year and it only gets better with the addition of Gary Sheffield. But, pitching and defense wins championships and the Tigers will not have the same pitching staff they did last year. Last season the Tigers relied on three very young pitchers to carry them - Jeremy Bonderman (24 years old last season, 214 innings pitched), Justin Verlander (23, 186), and Nate Robertson (29, 208.2). This heavy workload will surely tell on their young arms this season. Plus, last week the pitching staff lost its anchor - The Gambler, Kenny Rogers. Rogers will be out of the lineup until at least the All-Star break after having surgery on Friday to remove a clot from his arm. The Tigers young guns now have no steadying influence to look to when things go bad.
Tigers' pitching will not live up to what it did last year and the team will be 81-81 at the end of the season, probably good enough for 4th place in the AL Central.