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Tigers turning tide, but Leyland wants 'em mean

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08:22 AM ET 06.18 | Has Detroit turned the corner? Perhaps the Tigers finally are regaining the consistency of a team destined for September importance as opposed to end-of-the-season irrelevance. They're getting healthier, getting faster and, manager Jim Leyland hopes, getting a little meaner. "We still haven't gotten that edge that you need," Leyland said after Sunday's series-winning 5-0 victory over Colorado at Comerica Park. "We don't have that mean streak yet." The Tigers haven't brushed away all the dirt piled on them when not only couldn't they win, they couldn't even function as a modestly acceptable major league operation. But there are definite indications that they found rock bottom and have begun the excruciating upward climb.

Detroit Free Press

Jim Leyland, Getty Images Jim Leyland, Getty Images
June 18, 2012  08:48 AM ET

It's going to take more than victories over weak NL teams to turn this team around.

June 18, 2012  09:22 AM ET

The series win in Cincy a week ago was impressive, but interleague play has always been a great tonic for the Tigers. Since 2006 they have the 2nd best winning percentage vs the NL (.650) trailing only Boston.

Despite that this team still has alot of holes, production from 2B position as they collectively hit about .175 (not a typo), Porcello is still awful and too many games they look like a little league team on defense.

June 18, 2012  09:27 AM ET

If I am Leyland I would want them to wait until September to get mean so maybe it would carry them through October.

June 18, 2012  10:00 AM ET

He wants his team to take on his persona.

June 18, 2012  11:10 AM ET

Their infield is weak defensively.

June 18, 2012  11:25 AM ET

I can see them winning the weak AL Central, then getting booted out in 1st round of playoffs.

June 18, 2012  12:35 PM ET

Too Many Millers Cheese Burgers for them to turn Mean, have you seen da size of some of those players!!!

June 18, 2012  01:15 PM ET

they need to catch the ball.

June 18, 2012  01:56 PM ET
QUOTE(#6):

I can see them winning the weak AL Central, then getting booted out in 1st round of playoffs.

Agreed...............but it's less than 50-50 for them to win the Central, imo.

June 18, 2012  02:52 PM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Their infield is weak defensively.

and the OF isn't much better. Jackson is very good in center, but Boesch is an adventure in right field and in left field if it's Raburn it's terrible and Delmon Young even worse.

June 18, 2012  03:22 PM ET

"Mean"????????
This isn't the NFL or NHL.
BB is the most demanding of major sports on skill and brains (that's why it takes even the most gifted young players a few years in the minors to achieve a MLB level of play).
Mean only counts for pitchers who like to brush back and hit players.
I think Leyland probably meant to say, "hungry and focused" or something like that.
Mean is a silly way to put it.

Comment #12 has been removed
June 18, 2012  04:43 PM ET
QUOTE(#12):

Who will take it then? The Indians? Ha White Sox? Seriously?

The White sox are getting alot of great seasons from different guys, Konerko (.359 amazing), Dunn, AJ, De Aza, Peavy and Sale. Since they have two dominant starters right now, they could win the Central. Question is will Sale be innings limited this season and in September be skipped a few times in the rotation. Also can Peavy stay healthy for a full season, something he hasn't been able to do in recent years. The White sox have gotten better seasons from the role players like AJ and De Aza where as too many of the Tigers role players haven't contributed nearly enough, Avila with a big time regression this season and Delmon not really hitting.

 
June 18, 2012  11:50 PM ET
QUOTE(#11):

"Mean"????????This isn't the NFL or NHL. BB is the most demanding of major sports on skill and brains (that's why it takes even the most gifted young players a few years in the minors to achieve a MLB level of play). Mean only counts for pitchers who like to brush back and hit players.I think Leyland probably meant to say, "hungry and focused" or something like that. Mean is a silly way to put it.

Thoughtful remarks.

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