Detroit News predictions: Will Tigers make the playoffs?

The Detroit News
Justin Verlander is pictured during his last outing, at Minnesota last Friday, when he went 7.2 innings, giving up just one earned run.

Rod Beard: The second half looks daunting, especially without Miguel Cabrera until mid-August. The Tigers haven't struggled as much on offense without Cabrera; the starting pitching and bullpen have been the bugaboos. Still, they're in contention for a wild card. But The road is filled with potholes and their Central Division and playoff streaks will end.

Lynn Henning: The playoff streak stops at four. There hasn't been enough pitching or enough health. Close games a true playoff team would have won have washed away. The focus steadily will turn toward next season, and to a team's overall pitching needs.

Chris McCosky: No. It's not impossible, of course. The Royals were 50-50 last season before taking off. But with Miguel Cabrera out until the middle of August, at least, with only 2 1/2 reliable starting pitchers (jury is still out on Justin Verlander) and the bullpen as unstable as ever, it'd be asking a lot for this team to make an abrupt turnaround just a couple weeks before the trade deadline.

John Niyo: It's going to take a lot to escape the pack of AL wild-card contenders. A big second half from Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera's healthy return, for starters. Probably a trade-deadline theft similar to 2011 as well. But in the end, I don't think they'll have what it takes.

Bob Wojnowski: Yes. It'll be ugly and arduous, but they'll grab a wild card the old-fashioned way, with improved starting pitching. The key is Justin Verlander, and if his command in his last outing in Minnesota was real, Detroit's chances are real. David Price is a given, and at least one other starter — Anibal Sanchez or a trade acquisition — must rise and Joakim Soria can't fall. The hitting is there and the pitching could, maybe, possibly be there, with a little help and a little hope.