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Tigers Must Weather Storm During Dog Days

Since the All-Star break, the Detroit Tigers have been one of the most disappointing teams in all of baseball. The All-Star break was almost one month ago to the date. When games resumed play on Friday, July 18th, the Tigers held a 53-39 record and a 6.5 game division lead. One month later, on August 19th, the Tigers are 66-56 and now face a 2 game division deficit. The only silver lining is that the Tigers reamin tied for the Wild Card play in game.

MLB is currently in the midst of what is known as the dog days of the baseball season. The days where breaks seem to come few and far between, and the days where the contenders are separated from the pretenders. The Tigers are in one of the worst stretches of the dog days, having 54 games in 55 days. That is enough to take a toll on even the best team. Couple that with recent injuries and an inconsistent offense, and it is no wonder why the Tigers have surrendered the division lead and are just fighting to keep their heads above water.

There is still nearly a month and a half left to be played this season, so the Tigers are certainly not out of any race by any means. Here are a couple of things the Tigers must do to keep pace with the Kansas City Royals and to eventually come out on top in the Central Division:

Play At Least .500 Baseball Until Players Are Off DL

The Tigers have struggled to put together any consistent winning streaks and thus have struggled to play above .500 since the All-Star Break. The Royals on the other hand have played nearly .800 baseball, if not better, which is why they have been able to take over the divsion. The Royals are a good team, but they are not a team capable of maintaining that type of pace for the remainder of the season. If the Tigers are able to consistnely play at least .500, they will be able to stay withing striking distance until they get some players back from injury. Most notable of the players on the DL is Anibal Sanchez, who has struggled to stay healthy in his time with the Tigers. The Tigers also lost a good arm in Joakim Soria, though he has struggled while in Detroit, and are missing another important arm in Justin Verlander. If all three can come back healthy and effective, that boosts both the starting rotation and the bullpen big time.

Take Advantage Of Weak Teams

The Tigers have been known to get knocked around by guys you would never suspect and that needs to stop if the Tigers are to win the division this season. Kansas City is in the midst of a very weak schedule and are taking advantage of every opportunity. The Tigers on the other hand are about to play 15 of 18 on the road, all against teams who have played very well against the Tigers this season, especially as of late. This includes the Twins, White Sox, and Indians. The Twins and White Sox are sub .500 teams, while the Indians sit at one game over .500. These are three series where the Tigers need to win at least two games, three in the case of the series against the Twins. Taking care of business against weak teams, especially within your division, will take you to the playoffs more times than not.

While there are a multitude of other things the Tigers must do to regain the division lead, I don’t have the time to get into them now. What do you feel is the most important thing the Tigers must do to combat the dog days of the baseball season?

-Brett D’Angelo

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