Tigers on fire!
Reigning MVP Miguel Cabrera is leading the majors in both Batting Average (.385) and RBI’s (36). Meanwhile, 2011 MVP Justin Verlander has led the pitching rotation, posting a 1.55 ERA. With one of the game’s top bats and top arms, the Tigers have ideal leaders to rally around.
Production from Key Lineup Spots
Last season, the Tigers couldn’t find a consistent number two hitter all year. Jim Leyland tried a lot of different bats behind Austin Jackson, but no one delivered on a steady basis. With veteran Torii Hunter off to a monstrous start to the season, hitting .361, the Tigers have another excellent table setter to fill the bases for Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
Victor Martinez is back in the lineup and slowly starting to regain form, but his presence alone has helped the bottom of the Tigers lineup increase their productivity from last year, mainly Jhonny Peralta who is hitting .298 so far this season, compared to .239 last year. Omar Infante is also hitting at a .298 clip after batting only .257 as a Tiger last season.
It’s hard to argue that any team in the league has a stronger 1-4 rotation than the Tigers right now. Beyond Verlander, the Tigers have received excellent production so far this year from Anibal Sanchez, Doug Fister, and Max Scherzer.
Fister is the team’s number two. So far this year, he’s 4-0 with a 2.48 ERA, but Sanchez has stolen a lot of the thunder away from Fister. Apart from his franchise-best 17-strikeout game against the Braves, Sanchez has continuously put the Tigers in a great position to win when he’s been on the mound. He’s currently second on the team with a 1.82 ERA. Scherzer rounds out the top 4, and all he’s done this year is win all 4 of his decisions, posting a 3.43 ERA and striking out 54 batters in 39 1/3 innings (third in the majors in K’s behind Darvish and Burnett).
The main keys going forward will be consistency in the above-listed departments as well as reliable production from the bullpen. With one of the league’s best top-to-bottom lineups and deepest rotations, the Tigers have all the tools to make another playoff run, but there’s still a lot of baseball to be played.