Rotation great, but World Series not lock for Tigers


The out-of-nowhere addition of David Price to the Tigers' rotation, of course, should make fans excited for October.

It certainly appears those recent postseason disappointments may finally be a thing of the past.

But before you get ready for that huge parade down Woodward to celebrate the Tigers' first World Championship since 1984, take a history lesson.

It's one that may dampen the excitement about Detroit's now suitable-for-framing rotation.

It's not about being a Debbie Downer after the super trade to land Price, a Cy Young winner, from the Tampa Bay Rays. It's just a reality check.

This idea of loading up with stud arms isn't new.

In 2010, many wanted to hand the Philadelphia Phillies the World Series trophy after they signed free-agent Cliff Lee.

Lee joined Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt in the Phillies' rotation. At the time, it was dubbed the most recent best-pitching-staff-ever-assembled.

Despite their dream starting-staff, Philadelphia didn't win in 2010. That rotation didn't win jack before it was disassembled.

Before that, the 1993 Atlanta Braves' rotation of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery was considered among the best in modern times.

Maddux and Glavine were both inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame a few weeks ago. And many expect Smoltz to land in Cooperstown when he's eligible.

Despite those arms, that Braves team didn't win a title.

It's never that easy.

The Tigers now have the last three American League Cy Young winners on their team (Max Scherzer last season, Price in 2012 and Justin Verlander in 2011).

No doubt, the trio makes the Tigers a formidable playoff team. Add Anibal Sanchez, last season's AL ERA leader, and the Tigers have an awesome foursome of starting pitchers.

Even if you honestly believe the Tigers have a great shot to get to the World Series, it's not a layup that they'll win it all.

The pressure is now squarely on the Tigers' starters. They weren't assembled to get to the Fall Classic, but to win it.

Anything short of that would be considered a total failure.

"But we've got to win," said Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski after the trade. "That's what it comes down to. If we win, then I'll be very satisfied."

Dombrowksi is right. After all, the Tigers went to the World Series in 2012 without David Price. They were swept by the San Francisco Giants.

The Tigers starting pitching wasn't the problem in the 2012 Fall Classic. It was the hitting.

Last year in the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox, it was the bullpen that sunk the Tigers.

It's still the hitting and bullpen that make it hard to say the Tigers are a lock to win the championship.

The Tigers have been way too streaky with all the big-money talent on this roster.
Plus, there are a few other signs that should scare you about this team.

Before the Tigers swept of the lowly Colorado Rockies over the weekend, they were just 27-27 at home. They should be much better than that. Plus, they haven't played that well in the division, either. They are just 24-21. In the last few years, the Tigers have feasted on the Central.

For sure, the pitching will give the Tigers a shot.

"I thought two was pretty good," Tigers' catcher Alex Avila said about now catching three Cy Young winners. "It's always been a privilege to catch this staff.

"Now that we've got Price to add to that, it's pretty special. Lucky that I've been a part of it for the last years and get to be a part of it this year."

Still, in baseball, nothing is automatic. Not even four aces.