Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
The 2008 campaign is becoming reminiscient of one of 'those' games that you watch as a frustrated sports fan. Your team keeps showing glimpses that they're ready to get in the game, and you keep justifying in your head with "if they just score here and cut down the lead a bit more, we'll be right in it!" But we all know how those games turn out - rarely if ever does the team actually come full circle. Typically, they end up sidetracked - a boneheaded miscue, poor execution, and the like. This season has felt like the Tigers have had opportunity after opportunity, and just keep letting them pass by. But for anything to realistically happen, the Tigers have to make a run, soon, and it has to be led by the pitching staff. The Tigers currently rank 11th in the AL in ERA. And despite frustrations over the offense, the Tigers are actually second in runs scored in the AL, out in front of power offenses like Boston and Chicago. The Tigers need Justin Verlander to return to form, they need others in the rotation to continue to pitch above their head, and most importantly, they need one or two relievers to step up as reliable late inning pitchers. If all of that doesn't happen, and we're talking immediately, this season will be a lost one.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
As a Tiger fan at heart, it's nearly impossible for me to throw in the towel on any season, partiuclarly one where they have yet to be mathematically eliminated. The writer/analyst in me though, acknowledges that this season has slipped away. A golden opportunity to get back in the race following the All-Star break has gone by the wayside, and the Tigers must start planning for next season. If that means dealing a couple of veterans like Sheffield and Renteria before September 1st, then so bet it. If that means bringing up a few kids a touch early to see what they can do, then so be it. It's always prudent of organizations to recognize when they have little chance at the playoffs, and to start looking toward the following season, particularly when the basis of that team is still good enough to remain in contention going forward. As an analyst, the towel is in the air, falling towards the floor.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
After seeing how the Phillies and Rockies made their way into the playoffs last year, I wouldn't throw in the towel as of yet, but lots of things have to happen in order for the Tigers to have any hopes for making the playoffs. First, the entire pitching staff has to step up, which has struggled mightily all season long. Second, guys like Edgar Renteria and Gary Sheffield have to show signs of life at the plate to give more threats in the lineup. Lastly, and most importantly, the White Sox and Twins are going to have to hit serious tailspins for the Tigers to even have any hope for the postseason. The Tigers are certainly extreme longshots for the playoffs, especially when you factor in that right now, a .500 season isn't in the cards (58-59 after Sunday's win), so it's going to take a monumental effort and plenty of luck for the Tigers to have a shot at the playoffs, but stranger things have happened.
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