2013 Detroit Tigers At The Quarter Mark: Underachievers

The script, drafted in Lakeland and polished by enthusiastic
sports writers, had the Tigers at the 2013 quarter mark in first
place with baseball’s best record, the American League Central title theirs for the waiting.

At the quarter mark, the Tigers are an unimpressive 23-18,
and reeling after a lost weekend in Arlington. The 29-15 Texas
Rangers have baseball’s best record, and the Tigers are 2.5
games behind the surprising Cleveland Indians.

How can this be?

The Tiger .280 team batting average is baseball’s best. Miguel
Cabrera leads the majors in hitting at .387, Torii Hunter
(.310) has found the Fountain Of Youth at age 37, Jhonny
Peralta is arguably the league’s best shortstop, and isn’t Justin
Verlander’s place in Cooperstown all but assured?

Pitching — notably starting pitching, a category the Tigers
were expected to dominate — has let them down.

Tiger starters, penciled in as baseball’s best on …

Jose Valverde Shaky, Ex-Tigers Shine‏

ere in the second floor baseball bunker, we stop to watch. At Comerica, they stand. Is someone three outs from a no-hitter?
detroit pitcher
No, Jose Valverde has entered the game. After two recent implosions of Valverdian proportion, every pitch is worthy of intense scrutiny, as if pure mind power can get him through the ninth inning.

In the opener of last weekend’s series at Camden Yards, Valverde entered protecting a 5-3 lead. He allowed a solo homer to Baltimore Orioles leadoff hitter Nick Markakis and, two outs later, a three-run walkoff shot to Chris Dickerson.

At Comerica five days later, with the Cleveland Indians visiting,
Jason Giambi and Drew Stubbs took him deep before he retired the side to preserve a 7-5 win.

Valverde made believers of us with several excellent outings
to start his second tour of duty as the Tiger closer. Four homers
allowed in the span of …