It is surprising to me the frustration of many Detroit Tiger fans regarding the team so far this season. Going into 2011, and looking at the track record of the players, Detroit was a little above .500 team, with little depth, who could make the playoffs, if everything went perfectly right.
Everything has not gone right. Magglio Ordonez got hurt. Ryan Raburn, Brandon Inge, Austin Jackson, and Brennan Boesch have all struggled at the plate. Second base has been a carousel of inconsistency (both in performance and performers). The bullpen has been very ineffective and Cleveland has exceeded all expectations.
However, of all these things, the only ones that are really unexpected are Cleveland's excellence and the bullpen's ineffectiveness. The rest of the them are not surprising. The 2011 season, like previous seasons, was built on the hope that what would could happen; would happen.
In trading Scott Sizemore for bullpen help, as frustrating as it might be to many fans, Dave Dombrowski was addressing the only issue (that he could), that he did not expect to happen in 2011; the bullpen meltdown.
Is everything lost for Detroit in 2011? Probably not. While many things have not gone right, some have gone better than expected: Alex Avila and Jhonny Peralta have both exceeded expectations at the plate, and in my opinion, Rick Porcello and Phil Coke have both pitched (for the most part) better then I thought they would.
Detroit still plays in a winnable division and has proven that when they are on, they can play with some of the best teams in the American League. Their starting pitching can dominate for stretches and should they make the playoffs, can allow Detroit to steal a series from a deeper, better team.
On top of that, Ordonez could come back and be an offensive force in the lineup. Raburn, Inge, Jackson and Boesch could all hit to their abilities, Carlos Guillen could make a return to stabilize second base. A revamped bullpen with David Purcey, Charlie Furbush and a settled down Joaquin Benoit could handle tight games in the late innings and Cleveland could cool down.
Between now and September are a lot of baseball games to be played, A lot can happen. Let us not forget that.