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Tigers move up in ESPN, CBS Sports power rankings

The Detroit News

The Detroit Tigers have averaged 103 losses over the past three seasons, and perhaps only Major League Baseball's 60-game season will keep it from dipping below triple digits after 2020.

This season likely was expected to be another tough one for the Tigers, who are pointed more toward 2021 in their rebuild. But, 10 games into this shortened season, Detroit appears to have held its own.

The Tigers' C.J. Cron, right, reacts with Miguel Cabrera after Cabrera's solo home run in the first inning of a game last week at Comerica Park.

A look at updated power rankings Monday shows the Tigers gradually moving up from the cellar — or its bottom step — as the season is now one-sixth of the way (for most teams, at least) complete. 

ESPN's first power rankings since the preseason slots the 5-5 Tigers at No. 24, up five spots, while CBS Sports moved the Tigers to No. 18, up seven spots from a week ago, and 11 overall since a No. 29 preseason ranking. 

"Like the (5-3) Orioles, the Tigers have managed to win some games," ESPN writes, "but on paper, this still looks like a bad team. If you want to dream big, the bullpen has been excellent — Scott Alexander tied an AL record with nine straight strikeouts on Sunday (former Tiger Doug Fister, of all pitchers, held the mark) — and with so many teams struggling to lock down the late innings, that's one way the Tigers might surprise. That seems unlikely, but odds are we're going to see one surprise team make the playoffs"

The Tigers are tied for third in the American League Central, 2½ games behind the Minnesota Twins, and are coming off a series against NL Central contender Cincinnati in which they dropped two of three to the Reds. They open a four-game home-and-home series with the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, after Monday's opener was postponed because of a potential COVID-19 outbreak among the Cardinals.

That St. Louis series — if it's played — could see the major-league debut of right-hander Casey Mize. the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 who was a possibility to debut over the weekend against the Reds until rain washed out the Saturday contest.

"The Tigers haven't been terrible so far and rookie sensation Casey Mize is surely soon to make his MLB debut," Matt Snyder of CBS Sports writes. "Though they have one of the worst rosters in baseball and are projected to be awful this season, there are reasons Tigers fans should be excited about the future."