DETROIT - The Detroit Tigers were playing some pretty good baseball when they returned to Comerica Park for a 10-game homestand.
Since earning a road split with the Minnesota Twins to stay within two games of .500, the Tigers have been embarrassed on their home field three times out of four games.
Getting swept by the Houston Astros is understandable for a team like the Tigers. Houston will be in the playoffs and is probably the favorite to win the World Series this season. Even without Jose Altuve, the Astros have at least four hitters better than any player on the Tigers' roster.
The opening game of the series was a bit of a disappointment as Matt Boyd has his first truly bad start of the season. Even though the Boyd vs. Brad Peacock matchup might have favored the Tigers slightly, the Astros won an 8-1 blowout.
Ryan Carpenter started the following game, so the 11-run explosion was predictable. The best the Tigers could muster Wednesday was Gregory Soto on three days rest, which also resulted in a loss.
Detroit allowed 24 runs in three games and scored only six runs of its own.
Again, it was the best team in the American League against one of the worst, so that series was somewhat understandable.
Thursday, though? Thursday was about as bad as it gets.
Spencer Turnbull was on the mound for the Tigers, and he's given them a chance to win every single time out this season. Unfortunately, the infield defense ruined his outing, botching a routine double play and then making another error on an easy ground ball to first.
That turned what would have been a one-run inning into a six-run explosion, and the game spiraled out of control.
Seven long innings later, the Oakland Athletics had 17 runs on 16 hits and five walks.
In the first four games of the home stand, the Tigers have allowed 41 runs and been outscored by 32 runs. Their season run differential is now minus 81, the third worst in baseball and only five runs worse than the Orioles.
If not for the historically bad Miami Marlins, the No. 1 pick would be in sight once again, just days after being in range of .500.
It doesn't really matter what the Tigers do this season, but these lopsided games show how far away the team is from being a playoff contender. Sure, there are some really talented pitchers in the minor leagues, but if they don't all pan out, the backup plans are Carpenter, Soto and a very weak Triple-A roster.
It's better to just ignore the state of the future offense, for now.
The Tigers still have three games remaining against the last-place Athletics and then three games against the lowly Marlins. Assuming the Tigers don't suddenly turn this around and rip off six wins, they might have sniffed .500 for the last time this season.
We knew this would probably be a rough summer of baseball in Detroit. This week served as an unceremonious reminder
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