Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Can the staff hold up? Absolutely. There is plenty of talent on the pitching staff that makes the group capable of matching up with every other staff in baseball. Unfortunately, between injuries, control issues and the like, the staff has not pitched up to their capabilities. If Joel Zumaya comes back at full strength, if Justin Verlander doesn't see his arm start to fade in his first 200 inning season, if Kenny Rogers can fight off his aging body for a few more months, etc, if the middle relievers can pitch effectively, if, if, if. Lots of if's, and very few guarantees. And if too many of those question marks end up going the wrong direction, the Tigers will likely find themselves watching the playoffs from home come October.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
The Tiger pitching staff has been in disarray much of the season; with the absence of Kenny Rogers after his blood clot, the ineffectiveness of Mike Maroth, injuries to Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney, and many more maladies. Despite the fact that some semblence of order appears to be on the horizon, there are still plenty of questions. Zumaya, Rodney, and Rogers' health are at the head of those questions. If even two of those three can return to the field in full capacity, the Tigers are in prime position to make another run through the American League. However, if only one or none of them are able to regain form in the next two months, this team is in huge trouble. Given the early indications, I think the Tigers are going to be okay on the mound. Bonderman, Verlander, and even Miller, have helped bring some stability to the rotation, and the acquisitions of Mackay McBride and Jose Capellan have some upside that could lend well down the stretch. Look for the Tigers' staff to settle in during the season's final month, and expect some dominating pitching down the stretch.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
If the Tigers harbor any hopes of making the playoffs, they must hold up. The entire staff has pretty much been in disarray the entire year with the injuries to Joel Zumaya, Fernando Rodney and Kenny Rogers, and while that has had an obvious effect on the team, the bullpen should improve with Rodney and Zumaya's return, not to mention if the Tigers make a trade to bolster the staff. The starters have also taken their lumps, but I'm confident that Jeremy Bonderman and Justin Verlander will pitch better. I am concerned with Nate Robertson. He seemed to turn the corner with wins over Boston and Minnesota, but he has taken a step back in his last two turns. So far, the Tigers have managed to hang on to the lead in the Central with a horrid bullpen and a rotation that has been battered over the last week. With Cleveland nipping at their heels and the Yankees, Mariners and Twins all still players in the postseason hunt, the pitching staff must begin to stiffen up, or this team won't be a part of the festivities in October.
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