By James Nahikian
The Detroit Tigers picked up a 3-1 victory this afternoon against the Oakland Athletics. The win evened the Tigers’ record to 17-17 and brings them to within a single game of the Cleveland Indians at the top of the Central Division.
The continued struggles of the Tigers’ bats were overshadowed by the brilliance of Justin Verlander. “The Ace” pitched seven innings, allowing just two hits en route to his fourth win of the season. It was also nice to see scoreless innings turned in by Benoit in the 8th inning, and Valverde in the 9th inning. For Verlander, his dominance away from Comerica Park continues. In his last fourteen starts on the road, Verlander is 13-0 with an ERA of 2.79. He has also pushed his streak of pitching at least six innings to fifty straight games (Longest such streak since Steve Carlton went 69 straight games from 1979 to 1982).
No one is questioning the ability or past performances turned in by Verlander, but everyone seems to be questioning the Tigers’ lack of offensive production. The Tigers are ranked 14th (Out of 30 ball clubs) in runs and 12th in batting average. Both of which will not cut it, you have to at least be in the top third amongst the rest of the league in offense to have any shot in October. Luckily, the Tigers play in a very weak division. They still have a lot of time to figure things out and record wise, they got off to a worst start last season.
Most fans panic too early, and don’t realize that the season is incredibly long. There is no doubt in my mind that the Tigers will win this division and make a deep playoff run, but for now, the struggling offense is extremely frustrating to watch. And a win due largely in part to a once in a lifetime pitcher should not cover up the fact that the offense has been terrible. Too many runners left on base, and too many wasted opportunities. However, a win is a win. Especially for a team that missed the playoffs by one game in 2009.
James Nahikian blogs about the industry of sports. And specializes in articles about the Detroit Tigers, Major League Baseball and Bowling Green State University Athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org And follow him on twitter @KingNahikian or facebook where you can find links to his articles and updates about future posts.