The excuses are like buttholes-- everyone has one and they stink. I don't care if it was the first series back from the All-Star break, the Tigers faced two of the Yankees top pitchers, and, welp, we're still in first place; the Tigers need offensive help, fast, or else they are going to be living up to the name "pretenders" and not "contenders" when it's all said and done.
Okay, I just took a deep breath.
Honestly, if the Tigers were in so much trouble they wouldn't be in first place through 90 games and surely wouldn't rank in the top half of the Major Leagues in batting average and top 11 in runs scored. But the fact of the matter is, they are severely lacking on the offensive side. Time and time again, the Tigers fail to come up with the clutch hit, which, ultimately costs them ball games. That's exactly why Detroit failed to bust open a huge lead over the Twins and White Sox in the Central Division race back in June when they had several opportunities to do so. Instead, now, they only lead by a Mischa Barton slim 1.5 games.
This weekend was just a glaring reminder of how inefficient this lineup is when they have runners on the pond. Detroit received next to zero big base hits, scoring just five runs in three games. Detroit was 1-26 with runners in scoring position this weekend and that, my friends, is the opposite of execution. It's hitting with the very same, weightless, broom sticks the Yankees used to sweep up Detroit in the Bronx.
So what do the Tigers need to do?
They could sit on it, Manetti, and hope the same, out of their minds, pitching can carry them to the playoffs. That might be the economically right thing to do, but if I were Dave Dombrowski, I'd be thinking to myself, with the Tigers being in first place and a chance to get back to the post-season, "I'll never sit on it, Manetti. Ever," and go out and get some help. Mike Illitch has been on record as saying he'll do whatever it takes to help this team get better, so I don't see the Tigers sitting on what they have as the trade deadline approaches.
The other theory is that Carlos Guillen is coming back and could serve as their "trade," that adds a bat to the lineup. Jason Beck, Tigers' beat writer, says as much in his most recent post on his blog.
While Jim Leyland says that he'd be more than happy having a Guillen return serve as "their trade," I can't fully believe that. Remember, the decrepit Guillen was doing his best Mario Mendoza impression through his first 24 games this season and given his nagging injury problems in the past few years, he should forever have a giant red flag next to his name when "healthy."
Some of the other names I've heard floating around the trade rumor mill are Adam Dunn and Brad Hawpe (both reportedly not on the block), Matt Holliday, Josh Willingham, and Austin Kearns. A lot of these guys, on paper, don't look like they'd be much of an upgrade over our current OF situations. However, a fresh Louisville in the lineup could go a long way in terms of sparking some of our underachieving hitters. The same argument can apply to Carlos Guillen.
Either way, I think it's safe to say that these Tigers need help, and fast. I'm sure you've been wondering about the title of this post. Look no further, I researched the batting averages from Detroit Tigers lineups over the past 10-years and this year's team is the worst its been since 2003. Every single Tigers player in the lineup aside from Miguel Cabrera and a small sample sized Marcus Thames is hitting below .263. That's CurtIs Granderson, Placido Polanco, Magglio Ordonez, Clete Thomas, Ryan Raburn, Don Kelly, Josh Anderson, Ramon Santiago, Gerald Laird, Brandon Inge, and Adam Everett, any player you can think of plugging into the Tigers lineup day in and day out, all hitting below .263. In 2003, the Tigers had three hitters above that mark, but did not have anyone hit above .300 like they do this year with team batting average savior, Miguel Cabrera. If that's not an indiciation of "help needed," then I don't know what else is.