Meanwhile, the Pistons ended a lack-luster season with a few lack-luster games and have the rest of the Summer off.
Which brings us to the boys of Summer.
The Tigers have been - and I'll be polite here - a bit erratic. They fell apart completely on a mid-month road trip, going from 9-5 to 9-9 and then 10-10. Since coming home, they've had 1 rain out followed by 5 mostly impressive wins, and finished the month at 15-10.
Strengths - starting pitching, scoring early and often. Starters have routinely gone through 6 innings, and occasionally beyond. Scoring has been prolific, especially in innings 4 and 5, when the batters are seeing the opposing starter for the 2nd or 3rd time.
Weaknesses - relief pitching, inability to score late. Valverde has been more than adequate in his three 9th inning appearances, with 2 saves, 1 hold and no runs allowed. But bringing him back at all smacks of desperation - and rightly so. The biggest scoring innings for the opponents have been 3rd, 7th, and 8th. Tigers inability to score late is troublesome.
These differences are stark. In the first 25 games the Tigers have scored only 20 of their 126 runs (15.9%) in innings 7 and beyond - on average, less than 1 run per game in these frames. The opponents have scored 40 of their 98 runs (40.8%) in innings 7 and beyond.
Here it is graphically, where 10 is a proxy for all extra inning.
Blue line is runs per game, green line is an average to date from the first game, yellow line is average over the last 5 games. Offense was sadly deficient in games 14-18 against the Mariners and Angels.
Baseball is a streaky game. A win streak is a wonderful thing. A losing streak is abject misery.
Data from the Tigers sortable schedule at this mlb web page.