Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
There's never one thing that you can point to that is the reason for the Tigers turning things around, but it comes back to a few things. For starters, the Tigers are receiving excellent starting pitching - Justin Verlander has turned in six quality starts in his last seven outings, and Kenny Rogers has given up just five earned runs in his last five starts, and Armando Galarraga has continued to pitch very well. In addition, Marcus Thames and the rest of the offense has heated up. Before the Tigers' got hot in the last 11 games, the Tigers were averaging 4.6 runs/game and were shut out eight times. In the last 11 games, the Tigers are averaging 5.5 runs/game, and haven't been shut out once. And finally, this is at least partially a result of the Tigers running into some good luck and seeing things turn around. Even when the Tigers were 11 games under .500, all stats indicated they were playing better than their record indicated (never falling below four games under .500 according to Baseball Prospectus' third-order adjust standings - which indicates a team's expected record based on run production and runs allowed adjusted for strength of schedule), and now we're seeing that balancing out that often happens over the course of the season.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
It may sound like a cop out, but I think its just coming back to the mean for the Tigers. Despite the rants of fans everywhere, the Tigers weren't as bad as they were playing. There was too much talent on that roster, and its now starting to bring this team back to a more reasonable level of performance; something more expected from a club with talent like this. The starting pitching has started performing -- in spite of the loss of Jeremy Bonderman, the bullpen is becoming more sound, and the offense has started clicking when necessary. All that combines for a nice run of good play and a team that is finally showing what its capable of.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I think the key for the Tigers' winning streak has been the performance of their starters. Since last Monday's loss to Cleveland where Dontrelle Willis had his meltdown, the Tigers starters have gone 5-0 with a 2.16 ERA. In four of the last six starts, Tigers starters have allowed one earned run or less in four of those starts. By getting deep into games, the starters have eased the burden on the bullpen, which should get a significant boost in the next week with the return of Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney. The Tigers have also gotten some timely hitting this week, namely from Miguel Cabrera and Marcus Thames. Cabrera won a game in the White Sox series with home run, and he homered in Saturday's win over the Dodgers. Thames may be just 4-for-14, but all four of hits have home runs, including one in each of the three wins against the Dodgers. Have the Tigers turned the corner? Perhaps, but I want to see them sustain this run over the next few weeks to be convinced that they've turned things around.
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