Tigers Don't Need To Thrive, Just Survive This Road Trip
Surviving would be 3-6 - or averaging a win per series. Going 4-5 would be good. If the Tigers were to have a winning record on the trip, it would be gravy.
The Tigers are just 13-19 on the road. They struggled on the road last season, too.
The Mets have been playing very well, having won eight in a row before losing the last two games of their series with the Yankees. The Braves are 12 games above .500, and the Twins are, well, the Twins. They beat the Tigers in three straight the first time the two teams met in Minnesota - and without Joe Mauer.
A couple keys:
- The Tigers need to win Justin Verlander's two starts on the trip. This is when it really counts for an ace, a trip like this against tough competition in late June. I do think Verlander will be up to the task
- When the Tigers survived an 11-game road trip to the West Coast earlier this season with a 5-6 mark, Miguel Cabrera came through with several clutch hits. That must happen again for the Tigers to procure a similar result.
- The starters must pitch deep into games, setting up the bullpen, which has been the Tigers' strength. A couple 3- or 4-inning starts would be a disaster. Max Scherzer will be particularly under the gun. He is 1-4 on the road with an ERA over six. At home, he is 3-2 and his ERA is more than a run less than it is away from Comerica Park.
- Most importantly, the Tigers can't roll over against the Twins. Time to stand up to them. That series could dictate how the pennant race will play out.
- Also, watch out from behind. The White Sox are moving into contention.