DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers have taken sole ownership of the worst record in baseball, dropping below the Baltimore Orioles this week. Detroit is on pace to have its second-worst record in the modern era, better only than the record posted by the 2003 team that finished 43-119.
The Tigers sit at 30-67. At that rate, they will finish the season with a 50-112 record. Fifty wins is nothing to write home about, but it does keep the Tigers off the list of the 20 worst records in the modern era. In order to stay off that list, Detroit has to win 19 of its remaining 65 contests.
In their last 65 games, the Tigers have posted a less than stellar .280 winning percentage. Finishing out the season at that pace would land the Tigers at 48-114, better than 2003 but good for the 19th-worst record of the modern era.
It gets worse with a glance at a more recent sample size. The Tigers are 5-26 in their last 31 games. At that pace, they will finish 43-119, tying the 2003 team's record.
By the looks of it, these estimations are an optimistic scenario. Considering the Tigers' roster will look very different in August and September, it's entirely possible that the Tigers will reach the single-season loss record of 120.
Potential trade deadline losses
The MLB trade deadline is on the horizon and the Tigers are expected to lose some of the very few playmakers left on the roster. Starter Matthew Boyd, reliever Shane Greene and right fielder Nicholas Castellanos are expected to leave Detroit as a part of the rebuilding process.
In 21 starts, Boyd has notched a 4.07 ERA, trailing only Spencer Turnbull (3.65) on the team. Boyd has been a consistent starter for the Tigers this year, averaging 1.33 strikeouts per inning pitched.
Turnbull and Daniel Norris are expected to fill the ace role, but with both of them ahead of schedule on the inning limits set by manager Ron Gardenhire, it seems unlikely that either will see a game in September. This leaves a trial period for the Tigers to develop younger talent, such as Tyler Alexander.
Detroit has relied on Greene to close out games. The relief pitcher has converted 88% of his save opportunities and boasts a 1.22 ERA in 32 innings pitched. The Tigers will likely have to find a new closer by the end of July. No relief pitcher on the roster comes close to Greene’s expertise. The closer spot is sure to be a big question mark.
On the offensive side, Castellanos has the best batting average and slugging percentage of any starter, at .285 and .483, respectively. If Castellanos parts ways with the Tigers, the younger talents of Niko Goodrum and Brandon Dixon will have to fill the void left by the Tigers’ best hitter.
The potential loss of three star players doesn’t bode well for the Tigers in their remaining 65 games.
What's left on the schedule
The Tigers’ final record will likely be decided in the next three weeks. Through the middle of August, the Tigers will see matchups against the Mariners (seven games), Angels (three games), Rangers (three games), White Sox (four games) and Royals (three games). Of those opponents, the Angels are the only team above .500.
In the final month and a half of the season, the Tigers will play eight teams, and only two of them -- the Orioles and White Sox -- are below .500. If the season ended today, five of those teams would make the playoffs, with the Tampa Bay Rays a game out of the second AL wildcard spot.
For Detroit to avoid its worst record in the modern era and the most losses by any team in a single season, a winning streak will have to come in the next three weeks.