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Detroit Tigers second-half preview: Can Verlander turn it around?

Verducci's Quick Pitch: Detroit Tigers

Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci previews the second half of the MLB season for the Detroit Tigers.

Detroit Tigers

Record: 53-38

Standing: 1st in AL Central

Team Leaders:

Batting Average: Victor Martinez, .328

Home Runs: Martinez, 21

ERA: Anibal Sanchez, 3.04

Despite a star-studded rotation, no Tigers starter has an ERA below 3.00 – Anibal Sanchez leads the team with a 3.04 mark – but Justin Verlander (4.88) is the only man in the rotation with an ERA above 4.00. Thanks to a consistent rotation and impressive lineup, the Tigers go into the second half of the season with a comfortable 6.5-game lead in the AL Central.

Even if Verlander can't get back near his old self, the Tigers are well-positioned to make another deep playoff run. With a lineup that includes Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera and Ian Kinsler, Detroit's pitchers usually have some breathing room. However, the Tigers will need to see improvement out of the closer role, where they've seen eight blown saves just in the first half.

- Evan Webeck

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