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The Storyline For 2008 is Forming

On his blog today,'s Buster Olney lists 13 (non-steroid related) top stories for the 2008 season. (subscription) His second story concerns the Detroit Tigers:

2. Just how many runs will the Tigers score -- and will it be enough to prop up their thin pitching staff?

Justin Verlander might win 20 games with the staggering run support he is likely to receive, because there are days when he may allow six runs in five innings and still win by a touchdown; the Tigers may be the latest team to take a run at scoring 1,000 runs. But Detroit will likely be without Joel Zumaya the whole season, and the Tigers desperately need Dontrelle Willis -- whose diminished stuff was noted by NL advance scouts last year -- to be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter.

So we can see the storyline that people are forming about the Tigers approximately six weeks away from the beginning of Spring Training. Conventional wisdom says they're going to score many, many runs with one of the best lineups we've ever seen. But that pitching staff has some question marks. Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis are coming off down years. We're not sure Kenny Rogers can make it through the season fully healthy. Who will be able to replace Joel Zumaya in the bullpen? And if he's able to come back as scheduled, what kind of thrower will he be?

I'm not disagreeing with that assessment at all, but sometimes the national guys have a different view of a team from a distance than the hardcore fans and loyal followers have. So I'm curious what the view is from inside Tiger Town. Do you think the super hitting/so-so pitching expectation is accurate? Or is that oversimplifying the case? Are there any other storylines, perhaps less over-arching, that you see as you look at the current roster? What's being missed?