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Live from New York

by Scott Bolohan

Last weekend I took the trek out to New York to watch the Tigers play the Yankees (and because Chad Curtis was playing in Old Timer’s Day). Unfortunately, the Tigers’ bats acted like old-timers as well (side note: new Yankee Stadium, not nearly as bad as I expected).

All three games were winnable. We threw our two all-stars (and um, Luke French, who is kind of awesome in a really scary-going-to-get-rocked-at-any-time-but-holding-on-by-a-string way). And they delivered. We matched up pitch-for-pitch with the Yankees big arms (other than Joel Zumaya, who matched pitch for run).

But that’s where the comparisons ended.

We have maybe two impact bats, guys that can take over the game themselves on a consistent basis. But other than Curtis Granderson and Miguel Cabrera, it’s a whole lot of nothing. I don’t even know if half of the Tigers’ lineup could be considered a tough out. It’s bad.

The Yankees, on the other had, are a juggernaut. They have no holes top to bottom. And while the old adage of good pitching beats good hitting generally holds true, there’s also an adage about you must have an offense to score runs and win.

After the sweep, the Tigers still sit in first place in the Central (with the White Sox looking more and more like serious contenders). Yet they can’t beat any of the teams in the East. It’s just not going to happen this year. If the Tigers were in the AL East, where would they be? Forth? Fifth? Not at the top of the standings, that’s for sure.

While they can very well may still go on to win the division, this Yankees series should put some perspective on where the Tigers stand across baseball. The Tigers are a good team, but seriously flawed, and there are a number of more complete teams out there (like ones with offense and a bullpen). They can make the playoffs, a successful year by Detroit terms, but before they do anything crazy, they need to realize their limitations.

Roy Halladay can’t fix this team. Neither can Aubrey Huff or Luke Scott. Ty Cobb and Al Kaline couldn’t either (mostly due to their living status/age). With Magglio and Sheffield off the books next year, there will be money to play with. I’d welcome a Huff or Scott this year in hopes to win the division, but it’s not worth young talent (um, which I guess means Rick Porcello and Ryan Perry, that’s about it).

Perhaps I’m being too much of a downer, but I’m afraid I’m being too much of a realist. We just aren’t that great. The Yankees are. Anything can happen in the playoffs, especially with Verlander, Jackson, Porcello in a series, but not much can happen with Everett, Laird, and Thomas in the lineup.

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