In the middle of the week, Tigers fans were in a state of panic. Their team had lost four in a row to the Pirates and Cardinals and their lead over the dreaded Twins was down to two games. They couldn't hit, two fifths of their rotation couldn't pitch and the bullpen was starting to falter. They even lost two games started by their two aces. There were rumors about Magglio Ordonez getting released and a suggestion that all was not right between Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland. Another second half collapse was surely on the horizon.
Four days later, things are looking a lot better. They took the last game versus the Cardinals and then swept the first place Brewers over the weekend. Their lead over Minnesota is back up to four games with the White Sox five back. After going a week without scoring more than three runs in a game, they scored 25 runs on 37 hits on Thursday through Saturday. They plugged rookie Alfredo Figaro into the rotation and he allowed just two runs while striking out seven in five innings. Justin Verlander bounced back today with a strong outing and Fernando Rodney got his control back pitching two perfect innings last night and tonight.
While all this was going on Jim Leyland got an extension and Ordonez was benched. You may or may not like Leyland as a manager but the players like him and I think removing his lame duck status helps the team, at least for this year. Ordonez may return to the line-up on Tuesday but it's good news that Leyland is not afraid to sit him down if he doesn't hit.
So, all the Tigers problems are solved and we can rest easily. Well, not quite. Their starting line-up is still full of holes, the backend of the rotation is still a big question mark and they lack a truely reliable stopper in the bullpen. It once again looks like we'll be following a contender this summer though.