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AL Central Review and Preview: The Detroit Tigers

Tarik Skubal pitches at home for the Detroit Tigers on the Fourth of July.

The Tigers are on the upswing after finishing in second in the AL Central and will compete for a division title.

In a surprising turn of events, the 2023 Detroit Tigers (78-84) emerged from a prolonged slump, igniting a flicker of hope within their loyal fan base. The Tigers defied early-season expectations and displayed glimpses of a reinvigorated team.

This revitalization was not only reflected in their improved win-loss ratio but also in the resurgent spirit that permeated the clubhouse. Underdog victories and standout performances from rising stars hinted at a promising future for a franchise that had weathered its fair share of challenges.

The Tigers’ ascent, marked by strategic plays and breakthrough moments, brought excitement back to Comerica Park. As the team recalibrated its approach and honed its talent, the once-muted anticipation among fans evolved into genuine optimism. The 2023 season for the Detroit Tigers may have concluded with a sub-.500 record, but the renewed energy and resilience showcased provide a compelling narrative of a team on the cusp of a formidable resurgence.

In this in-depth review and preview piece, we will look back on the highs and lows of the 2023 Tigers season, while projecting the path forward for 2024 and beyond.

Month By Month

Spring Training and March

Detroit went 14-16 across Spring Training with focus spent on developing young talent for future seasons. Although there were no major impressions, fans could start to see growth for the future. The Tigers went 0-1 in the month of March with a 4-0 loss on Opening Day to the Tampa Bay Rays.

April: Finding Their Footing (10-16)

Detroit got off to a slow start in 2023, going just 10-16 in the month of April. The slow start put Detroit well behind pace in the AL Central, as playoff hopes looked rather thin for SP Tarik Skubal and company.

May: Encouraging Improvement

The Tigers turned things around fast, going 16-11 in the month of May to get back around .500 and into the AL Central conversation. With the Cleveland Guardians and Minnesota Twins struggling, the division became fair game to all.

June: Summer Slump (9-18)

Detroit stumbled through the month of June, losing all of the ground it excitingly made up in May. A 9-18 record plagued the Tigers’ playoff hopes, showing a promising prior month was all for naught.

Looking for Positives

July: Treading Water (12-13)

The Tigers followed up a disappointing June with a stagnant July, going 12-13 across the month. Detroit was just out of reach for playoff consideration, prompting no urgency at the looming trade deadline.

August: Getting Through the Month (13-15)

Detroit maintained its stagnant pace through the dog days of August, going 13-15 across the month. The Tigers did nothing too impressive, as the final games of DH Miguel Cabrera’s career became the new headline out of the Motor City.

September: Ending on a High Note (17-10)

The Tigers finished out the year with an impressive 17-10 record in September. Detroit’s strong finished sparked optimism for future seasons, with a young and promising Tigers team finally putting together some wins. They played well enough to pass the Guardians for second place in the division.


While the win-loss ratio may suggest a difficult year, a closer look reveals a silver lining for the Tigers. Young talents, who initially faced growing pains, began to showcase glimpses of potential greatness. Whether it was a rookie pitcher’s impressive strikeout tally or a budding hitter’s clutch performances, the raw talent on the roster started to shine through adversity.

Managerial decisions and strategic shifts also laid the groundwork for optimism. The coaching staff demonstrated resilience, experimenting with lineups and refining player roles to identify the winning formula. These adjustments, though not immediately reflected in the win column, set the stage for a team on the brink of transformation.

As the Tigers head into the offseason, attention turns to 2024 with a sense of anticipation. The 2023 trials have acted as a crucible, forging a team that, despite its struggles, is poised for growth. With lessons learned from defeat and a nucleus of promising players gaining invaluable experience, the Tigers are positioned for a resurgence. The upcoming draft and potential offseason acquisitions offer avenues for bolstering the roster.

Anticipation for 2024

Detroit’s loyal fan base, while enduring the pains of a challenging season, can take solace in the promise that emerges from adversity. The 2024 season beckons as a fresh chapter, where the lessons of 2023 serve as a foundation for a team determined to reclaim its competitive edge and redefine its narrative on the diamond.

A weak AL Central division leaves room for playoff possibility, as the Tigers look to chase down the Twins and Guardians. With Chicago and Kansas City in rebuild mode, the iron is hot for striking.

I expect Detroit to improve tremendously in 2023 and compete with Minnesota. However, I still think the Tigers are a year away from the postseason.

Detroit will challenge the Twins for the division into the early weeks of September but expect Minnesota to repeat as champions when all is said and done.

A wild card spot is likely just out of reach for Detroit, but that doesn’t mean the Tigers won’t excel in the upcoming season and give a couple juggernauts fits.

Expect SS Javier Baez, DH Kerry Carpenter and a team full of exciting playmakers to make a run for the majority of the season.

Prediction: Detroit Tigers (83-79) narrowly miss playoffs

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