TigsTown Roundtable: First, Second Half

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: How would you evaluate the Tigers first half of the season, and their opportunity to contend in the second half?

Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
On the whole, the first half of the season went about as well as one could have expected. No, not everything went as well as hoped. The Tigers two-headed catching monster still hasn't produced much, Adam Everett was released over a lack of production, and Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, and Armando Galarraga all had to be sent to Toledo due to ineffectiveness. Yet, despite that, the Tigers find themselves just a half game out of first place behind the red hot White Sox, and in prime position to contend. However, to do that, the Tigers will need to continue to get outstanding production out of players like Brennan Boesch, easily the surprise of the year and a prime rookie of the year candidate, as well as get some more reliable starting pitching, whether that be from within or outside the organization. Without a more reliable rotation, it's hard to see the Tigers keeping pace with both the Sox and Twins, and without multiple productive bats in the lineup, the opposition will safely pitch around Miguel Cabrera. It will be an interesting and exciting second half of the season to say the least, but for the Tigers to find themselves on top of the standings when the regular season comes to an end, things will have to continue break well for the club.

Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
It's hard not to like what the Tigers accomplished in the first half of the 2010 season. The pitching wasn't always what one may have expected, and the offense sure had some hiccups along the way, but in the end, this team is right in the thick of things, and is only one game removed from standing atop the AL Central. Before the season began, it was extremely likely that this would be a three horse race, with the White Sox, Twins, and Tigers all factoring into the outcome, and that is precisely what is happening. When you look at what the Tigers have accomplished and where they may head in the second half, there are a lot of questions. Can Jeremy Bonderman be counted on in the rotation for the rest of the year? Will Armando Galarraga, Andy Oliver, and/or Rick Porcello provide that fourth and fifth starter the team desperately needs, or will they be forced to go outside the organization? Can Austin Jackson overcome the rookie wall? Will Brennan Boesch hit the rookie wall, or will the impressive physical specimen simply run right through it? In the end, the Tigers are pretty likely to to run the course with what's brought them so far, with the only noticeable and realistic upgrades coming in the bullpen or at shortstop. As it stands, it is not unreasonable to expect the Tigers to stay in the race down to the bitter end, and if they do that, anything can happen in the final weeks of the season. So, when it comes to September, may the hottest team win!

Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
The Tigers have certainly enjoyed a good first half to the season. Being just a 1/2 game out of first place certainly has them in contention, and they've gotten a lot of contributions from unexpected sources. I don't think anyone expected Brennan Boesch to put up the numbers he has, and fellow rookie Austin Jackson has also had a good season. Magglio Ordonez has bounced back after a down 2009 season, and of course there is the monster season Miguel Cabrera is enjoying. Pitching-wise, Justin Verlander has pitched well, and Jeremy Bonderman has also done a good job in returning after injuries derailed him in previous years. Max Scherzer has also bounced back after going down to Toledo. Jose Valverde has been lights out in closing out games in the bullpen. The Tigers are certainly in contention in large part because of their stellar play at home, but they will be sternly tested in the first month of the second half with series against the Rangers, Angels, Red Sox and Yankees, as well as seven games each with the White Sox and Rays. If the Tigers can play good baseball during that stretch, they should be in contention, but they must play better on the road, and it will be interesting to see what the Tigers do at the trade deadline to bolster the roster. It will be interesting to see how everything unfolds over the next few months.

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