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Minnesota Twins

AL Central Preview: Can Anyone Beat the Detroit Tigers?

Much like the their Senior Circuit brethren, the question for the AL Central is easy: can anyone beat the Detroit Tigers?
 
The answer is: no. No, they can’t.
 
Probably.
 
The Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins are all just playing for second…and hopefully an accompanying Wild Card berth.
 
Baseball writers and bloggers all across the inter-web are quick to anoint the Tigers, but without proper recourse. And that’s why you come to MAMBINO, right? So that we can make you sound smarter than you are. Let’s take a second to describe the reigning American League Champs. They run out a very good, very healthy starting five headed up by the best (or second best, depending on who you ask) pitcher on the planet, Justin Verlander. Behind him, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister are walking no-hitters ready to happen. 24 year-old former first rounder pick Rick Porcello has disappointed in the past, but if you believe reports out of spring training, he’s poised for a breakout year.
 
On the other side of the ball, the Tigers are mighty similar to the Anaheim Angels in that they can beat you in almost every single way. They’ve got Gamma-powered mashers (2012 AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, 1B Prince Fielder), speedy leadoff men (OFs Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter) and patient hitters that can spray the ball all over the field (DH Victor Martinez, OF Andy Dirks and 2B Omar Infante).
 
The bullpen is the only real question for the extremely well managed Tigers, as skipper Jim Leyland is currently without a closer. Phil Coke was certainly overextended as the team’s 9th inning man last October, but managed to look the part even though his stuff never really has. Detroit will close by committee for the moment, with Joaquin Benoit, Coke and Octavio Dotel all getting shots. However, the Tigers are all-in this season; if one of the incumbent relievers (or Triple-A closer-in-waiting Bruce Rondon) don’t claim the role, the front office is certain to go out and pay whatever price necessary to bring in a shut down hurler.
 
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