It’s now or never for the Detroit Tigers. That’s been abundantly clear since Opening Day as a bloated and aging roster took the field. That reality became even more pressing as rumors surfaced a sell-off would occur if the team is still floundering under .500 at the Fourth of July marker.
And you know what? It’s never. Full stop. It’s time to accept reality and defeat. A dreadful 3-8 stretch puts them at 24-28, four games under the break-even mark, just treading water as the event horizon nears.
But it’s not so much that the Tigers are losing games. It’s how they are losing them. Over the span of five days, what should be a potent offense has been held scoreless by not one, but two pitchers making their Major League debuts.
Tyler Danish of the Chicago White Sox sidestepped six walks in five innings in a 3-0 win on Saturday. On Wednesday, Eric Skoglund of the Kansas City Royals blanked the Tigers for 6.1 innings while surrendering only two hits. The anemic offense wasted solid starts by Michael Fulmer and Justin Verlander, respectively.
These are the games a team with playoff aspirations must win. Two stellar outings by top of the rotation pitchers wasted.
Forgive the overreaction, but it’s hard not to realize the warning signs that this whole thing is a lost cause are now displayed in a much bigger font. Even an optimistic fan should struggle with the answer to this question:
What’s more likely, that Danish and Skoglund are future stars … or that Detroit just doesn’t have it? This is not meant to be a slight to the young pitchers who performed capably. Danish was a second round pick in 2013 while Skoglund went in the third round of the 2014 draft.
But again, what’s more likely? That we witnessed the birth of two of the game’s great young arms … or the slow death of a roster core chock-full of Hall of Famers that fell short of a World Series?
The more viable truth hurts.