Can Tigers dodge last place?


Updated: May 9, 2003, 10:25 AM ET
By Jim Baker
As the Tigers beat reporter for the Detroit Free Press, Gene Guidi sees them play every day. It will probably come as a surprise to many that his mood is bright and his feeling about the team's chances of improving as the season goes on is very strong. He writes, "I still think they will avoid 100 losses this season. I'll go you one better: I even think they will finish ahead of the Indians in the American League Central."

Bobby Higginson
The Tigers lineup has been putrid.
This might seem like a brash prediction at a juncture when a team is sitting at 7-25 (although not as brash as it did at the beginning of the week prior to them winning four in a row and posting their three highest scores of the year), but Guidi bases his prediction on the fact that while the offense has been slumbering, the starting pitching has not been all that bad. True enough, Tigers starters are about middle of the pack in the American League in terms of ERA. Quite obviously, the trouble has been on the other side of the bat. In spite of this week's outburst at the plate, it is May 9 and the Tigers have yet to score 100 runs. There are three American League teams (New York, Boston and Texas) who have more than doubled the Tigers offensive support to this point.

To illustrate the lack of succor, in 2003, American League teams are averaging just about five runs per game. Had the Tigers managed to score the league-average in their losses, their record right now would be 17-15 -- not counting as wins the games in which they surrendered five runs exactly. As this week proves to some extent, nothing that extreme can last forever in baseball.
Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at