The most difficult aspect to understand about the current state of the Tigers
The most tangible explanation is their pitching is just mediocre. Ah, that was before they were one-hit Saturday night by the Orioles and lost despite an excellent start by David Price.
One thing I'm perplexed about is why the Tigers aren't better at home. They have a 23-24 record at Comerica Park after Saturday's loss.
Home field advantage in baseball is definitely a factor. Minnesota is 31-16 at home, 19-24 on the road. Kansas City is 30-16 at home, 24-19 on the road. Houston is 29-16 at home, 21-26 on the road.
It's even more pronounced in the National League. St. Louis is 32-11 at home and Pittsburgh 32-16, while both clubs are playing roughly .500 ball on the road. The classic example of this is the Mets, 32-14 at home, 15-29 on the road.
The Tigers have been OK on the road, 22-21. They just can't seem to shake loose at home, even against a team like Baltimore, which is just 18-27 on the road.
Through the early games Saturday night, MLB home teams had a 739-631 record - just a shade under a 54 percent winning percentage. Travel the issue? Can't be. The lone division in which home teams have a losing record is the American League West.
Does Comerica Park not fit the Tigers? It's a spacious in the outfield for sure, traditionally a triples haven. However, the Tigers have more range in the outfield than they've had in the recent past.
So the news about the Tigers to start the second half of the season - a home stand against .500 and sub .500 teams, like the Orioles and Mariners, should be good. Then again, this is a club that was destroyed at home by Milwaukee and Oakland this season, losing five of six to teams with a combined record of 80-103.
Entering this year, the Tigers were 430-299 at Comerica Park since turning around their fortunes in 2006. Even the 2008 team, which lost 88 games, was 40-41 at home. Otherwise, the Tigers haven't been remotely close to having a losing record at home since '06.
The losing at home is a trend the Tigers must change, or they have no chance in '15.
My column. Even without Notre Dame, Jim Harbaugh and Michigan figure to be tested before Big Ten season: http://www.theoaklandpress.com/sports/20150718/pat-caputo-even-without-notre-dame-jim-harbaugh-michigan-football-will-be-tested-before-big-ten-season