WE MAKE THE CALL: WILL THE TIGERS WIN THE WORLD SERIES?

MITCH ALBOM No

Why? The Tigers won’t make the World Series as currently constructed. They have to get a better bullpen. You can slug your way to the playoffs but not through them. However, if a closer emerges and if Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney ever stay healthy, look out. They could win everything.

AL Central

1 Tigers

2 Indians

3 Royals

4 Twins

5 White Sox

Tigers’ 2008 record

92-70

Tigers’ MVP

Miguel Cabrera

1,000 runs?

Yes

American League

East:

Red Sox

Central:

Tigers

West:

Angels

WC:

Indians

National League

East:

Mets

Central:

Cubs

West:

D’backs

WC:

Phillies

World Series

Red Sox over Mets

JOHN LOWE No

Why? Predictions are like winters – no matter how many you deal with, they don’t get any easier. What follows is pure guesswork. For me to pick a team now to be in the World Series, it has to have pitching that looks formidable enough to dominate heavy-hitting teams in the first two playoff rounds. The Tigers’ staff doesn’t strike me that way now – but could by October. Then again, at this point in 2006, I never would have guessed the Tigers would pitch dominantly in two playoff series that October.

AL Central

1 Indians

2 Tigers

3 Twins

4 White Sox

5 Royals

Tigers’ 2008 record

93-69

Tigers’ MVP

Carlos Guillen

1,000 runs?

No

American League

East:

Red Sox

Central:

Indians

West:

Angels

WC:

Tigers

National League

East:

Braves

Central:

Reds

West:

Padres

WC:

Mets

World Series

Red Sox over Braves

JON PAUL MOROSI Yes

Why? It’s a bad omen when key relievers aren’t healthy in March. You wonder how the bullpen will look in late summer. This figures to be one of those entertaining-yet-excruciating seasons, with games that won’t finish in time for you to watch Letterman. Because of the bullpen, the Tigers will lose games they have no business losing. Because of the lineup, they will win games they have no business winning. In the end, they will win the wild card. And if the bullpen is in working order, they should win it all.

AL Central

1 Indians

2 Tigers

3 White Sox

4 Twins

5 Royals

Tigers’ 2008 record

95-67

Tigers’ MVP

Gary Sheffield

1,000 runs?

Yes

American League

East:

Red Sox

Central:

Indians

West:

Mariners

WC:

Tigers

National League

East:

Braves

Central:

Brewers

West:

D’backs

WC:

Reds

World Series

Tigers over Diamondbacks

MICHAEL ROSENBERG No

Why? With this offense and rotation, the Tigers should make the postseason. But once they get there, relief pitching will be of utmost importance. At this point, there are too many question marks in the bullpen. If Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya are healthy and effective in October, I might change my tune. But that is far from guaranteed.

AL Central

1 Tigers

2 Indians

3 Twins

4 Royals

5 White Sox

Tigers’ 2008 record

98-64

Tigers’ MVP

Miguel Cabrera

1,000 runs?

No

American League

East:

Red Sox

Central:

Tigers

West:

Mariners

WC:

Indians

National League

East:

Mets

Central:

Cubs

West:

D’backs

WC:

Rockies

World Series

Red Sox over Mets

DREW SHARP No

Why? It was starting pitching that abandoned the Tigers last year. The back end of the bullpen remains flawed with setup men Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney injured, but if the starters regain the quality-start consistency of the magical season of 2006, the Tigers will return to the playoffs. Justin Verlander is the key. He becomes the undeniable ace of the rotation, curbing losing streaks and bringing a sense of invincibility every fifth day. That attitude was missing in 2007.

AL Central

1 Tigers

2 Indians

3 Twins

4 Royals

5 White Sox

Tigers’ 2008 record

98-64

Tigers’ MVP

Justin Verlander

1,000 runs?

No

American League

East:

Red Sox

Central:

Tigers

West:

Angels

WC:

Yankees

National League

East:

Mets

Central:

Reds

West:

Dodgers

WC:

D’backs

World Series

Red Sox over Diamondbacks

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