The Detroit News writers take a look at how the Tigers will fare in 2014:
How far will the Tigers go? They’ll win their division by at least 12 games. They will win their divisional series, too. But they won’t get to the World Series because a team that had to fight harder the last month to get into the postseason than the Tigers did will beat them, 4-3, in the American League Championship Series. Those darn Angels.
Thought ahead of Opening Day the Tigers would be third in a close race with the Indians and Royals. But they’ve gotten big lifts from J.D. Martinez and Eugenio Suarez, and while the bullpen can be a bit wobbly, they should win this division. If they have home-field advantage, they’ll win the first round and maybe play into the World Series. If they begin on the road, their string of Division Series triumphs likely will end.
They’ll go as far as their Big Three can take them. That means the Tigers need more from Justin Verlander — and Miguel Cabrera — than they’ve gotten in the first half. That’s not asking too much. But I’ll stick with my preseason pick of an ALCS loss. This time, the A’s clip ’em in a seven-game series.
Assuming they add pieces to the bullpen ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, the sky’s the limit. They make a strong case to be baseball’s most balanced team. I said Tigers-Dodgers World Series before the season. There’s no reason to back off now.
The Tigers might have their most complete team in years, if not for that nagging bullpen issue. They’ll eliminate the A’s again, this time in the ALCS, and reach the World Series. And there, they’ll run into Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers pitching, and fall just short again, losing in six games.