Roundtable: The Best in Baseball?

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff on some of the hot button topics of the offseason? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: The Tigers closed out the first half of the season with the best record in baseball – will they finish out the season the tops in baseball?

Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
The Tigers have some things working in their favor, but if they don't find a way to upgrade their lineup significantly, I don't see them hanging onto the best record in baseball. By all indications, the White Sox pitching staff has actually under-achieved so far this season, and their offense is arguably the best in baseball. The Tigers pitching has been spectacular, but they've got quite a few variables working against them (innings for Justin Verlander, and a history of second half struggles for Kenny Rogers and Nate Robertson). Adding a player like Bobby Abreu might hurt the club in the long run, but quite possibly gives them the best chance at making a run right now in 2006. Make a move, and they could be tops in all of baseball. Stand pat, and they're likely headed for a great chance at locking up the wild card.

Mark Anderson, Associate Editor, Minor Leagues
I do think the Tigers will come close to the best record in the second half, but I think the youth will hold them back. Not only are there a lot of players who haven't played in a big league pennant race, but Verlander is going to miss starts (by design) in the second half; and losing your #2 starter is going to hurt at some point. The Tigers are in the unenviable position of having to keep an eye on the innings of two of their most effective starters; Justin Verlander and Zach Miner. Hopefully Maroth comes back healthy, and is able to lighten the load. Either way, the Tigers have been playing insane baseball for over three months now, and it's tough to expect them to keep that pace up. I'm looking for them to have a good second half, but they may have to settle for the wild card, as I don't see them continuing this pace.

Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I don't think they will. The Tigers have had a terrific season, but the White Sox are hot on their heels, standing just two games back. The Tigers starting pitching has been superb so far, but there are already rumblings about the number of innings Justin Verlander will throw, and how effective he'll be in the crucial stretch run. Kenny Rogers has struggled in his last three starts, which brings up the question of this starting another second-half slide for him. Nate Robertson has also struggled after the All-Star break in his career, and the Tigers will have a big decision to make on Zach Miner when Mike Maroth returns. Offensively, the Tigers have to be more disciplined at the plate. They lead the American League in strikeouts by a wide margin, and only Seattle has drawn fewer walks, so the ability to manufacture some runs will become huge, especially if the Tigers make the playoffs and are facing quality pitching on a nightly basis. Even though I don't think they'll finish with the best record, I think they will qualify for the postseason, which is something very few people thought would happen a few months ago.

Have your own opinion on the issue? Ready to talk about it? State your opinion on the Detroit Tigers Open Message Board and go head to head with the experts!


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