Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
For those that followed along on the weekly radio stations I appear on (WTKA 1050 in Ann Arbor and WTRX 1130 in Flint), you would know about my 35 game expectation. Over the last 35 games of the Tigers' first (leading up to the All Star break) I felt the Tigers needed to win 22 games to put themselves in position to make a big second half run. Well, they won 23. And for the rest of July, the Tigers have 11 of their 14 games against teams under .500 (Baltimore, Kansas City and Cleveland). And there's every reason to believe the Tigers can make that run. The offense, with the return of Magglio Ordonez, will finally have its full complement of offensive players for the first time all year, and the rotation seems to be over its early season struggles. Couple that with the return of Joel Zumaya, and suddenly those seven games that the Tigers are behind doesn't look so daunting. It won't be easy, but the Tigers are definitely going to make a run for the division crown and will be in the hunt come September.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
I really think the Tigers have gotten things in order, and I think they may be poised for a very dynamic second half to the 2008 season. Despite recent injuries to Cabrera, Inge, and Ordonez, there is still plenty of promise at the plate, and the pitching has evolved into a group that is routinely preventing runs. The moves on the defensive side of the ball have stabilized things in the field as well. As long as the pitching can maintain a high level of success, without a late season fade, the team should be primed to make a very, very strong push toward the Division title and the playoffs.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
A little over one month ago (June 6 to be exact), the Tigers were 24-36, and like the rest of the American League, they had a great run through interleague play as part of a 17-4 streak that had them over the .500 mark, so I want to see how this team fares against one of the hotter teams in baseball right now before judging this team as a legitimate contender. I also think we'll have a better idea as to whether this team will be buying or selling once the games right after the All-Star break are played. Could the Tigers be the '06 Cardinals reincarnated? It's possible, but at the same time, things can just as easily go south. The pitching has been solid over the last month, and if the Tigers are going to harbor any hopes of staying in the race, they must continue to produce. At the same time, the offense has never been running on full cylinders (only two starters sport .300 averages), and given the track records of some of these players, it's easy to see someone carrying the team for a stretch during the second half. The schedule is somewhat more manageable, with no trips out west, but the Tigers have seven games with Tampa Bay (the last four of the season in Detroit), and well as Baltimore. They also have six games with Oakland and Texas, plus the ultra-important games within the division. I'm not sure what to make of the Tigers for the second half. Has this team finally turned the corner, or simply beaten up on the bottom feeders of the National League? That's the question that needs to be answered before I can say what's in store for the Tigers in the second half, because it could go either way.
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