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Max’s Musings: Detroit Tigers Series Against Tampa Bay Rays Might Be Most Important of Year

August 19th, 2014 at 11:52 AM
By Max DeMara

Max DeMara is musing on all things Detroit Tigers.

Looking for any type of mental advantage, the Detroit Tigers head back on the road, a place they've played much better than at home in 2014. They'll need to keep that up in order to prevent the bottom from falling out.

Brad Ausmus is feeling confident that given the team's road record, better play could be lurking around the next corner. For his part, he had better be right, because this week's series against the Tampa Bay Rays could go a long way toward deciding if Detroit keeps close in the playoff race.

As August pushes on, here's some other talking points.

Tampa Bay Might Prove To Be Series Of Year. Detroit lost two of three to the Seattle Mariners over the weekend, with each loss coming in frustrating fashion. Now, they face the tough challenge of going on the road to face the Rays, who have been one of the hottest teams in baseball. The series could be the turning point for each team. With an ugly performance, the Tigers could fall further behind and allow another team to catch them in the wild card.

Discussing David's Debut. It's hard to remember a more anticipated Detroit sports arrival than that of David Price, the Tigers' latest ace. Saturday night, he dominated on the way to an impressive 4-2 win, and the crowd roared with approval. Facing down Felix Hernandez isn't easy, but Price gave his team eight innings and won the game. It was a privilege to witness such excitement in person and cover one of the Michigan sports stories of the year thus far.

Craving Castillo. Out of the teams that are currently fighting Detroit for the services of Rusney Castillo, who needs him more than the Tigers? Arguably nobody. Since coming up, Ezequiel Carrera has disappointed at the plate. Whether or not Castillo takes time adjusting to the speed of the major league game, he would still likely show better than Carerra has. Adding Castillo as the everyday center fielder could give a listless Detroit lineup the jolt of energy it desperately needs. There's still no word on when Castillo may sign or which way he is leaning, but a desperate Detroit team should hope it's with them.

Johnson Jolted. As far as first impressions go, new Tigers' reliever Jim Johnson didn't make a good one on Sunday, getting tagged with excellent contact off Seattle bats and giving up one earned run and two hits. Johnson could still turn things around, but at this point, counting on him to fix his problems on the fly is tough. Ausmus said Johnson's pitches looked solid, but he still has a long way to go in order to become a player Detroit can trust.

Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.

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Tags: Baseball, David Price, Detroit, Detroit Tigers, Ezequiel Carrera, Jim Johnson, MLB, Rusney Castillo

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