The struggling Detroit Tigers offense needs a spark heading into Game 4 of the ALDS

Mike Oz

You look at the Detroit Tigers lineup and you don't expect them to be a team that has trouble scoring runs. They've got Miguel Cabrera, for crying out loud. But tears are something that Tigers fans might be holding back when watching the team's whimpering offense so far in the ALDS.

The Tigers have scored six runs in three games, which is the main reason they find themselves in an elimination game Tuesday. They need beat the Oakland Athletics in Detroit to stay alive and even their ALDS series at two games each. (First pitch is 5:07 p.m. ET)

How rough are things offensively right now for the Tigers? These five facts will shed some light:

• The Tigers haven't scored in 25 of the 27 innings played so far in the ALDS. Their six runs have come in two three-run innings, one in Game 1 and one in Game 3. Between those, the Tigers had 20 scoreless innings.

• Extra-base-hit count for the Tigers so far in the ALDS? Three. Heck, The A's had three homers and a total of six extra-base hits in Monday's Game 3. Hanley Ramirez of the Dodgers had twice as many extra-base hits in his NLDS series as the entire Tigers roster does.

• Of the eight teams that played LDS series, the Tigers rank last in these categories: runs, hits (tied with A's for last), home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage.

• Their slugging percentage is an especially cringeworthy .250. The A's, by comparison, are slugging .404 and their batting average is only .212 in the series. The Dodgers are postseason slugging leaders, at .572. Last year's ALDS between Oakland and Detroit wasn't exactly an offensive show for the Tigers either (they scored eight runs through the first three games), but they won the series in five games and managed a .337 slugging percentage.

• The Tigers haven't hit a home run since Sept. 24, two full weeks ago. They were homer-less in their final series of the regular season with the Miami Marlins, and only scored three runs in those three games. You'll recall the Tigers were no-hit in the final game of the season too.

There's hope in Detroit that the fiery conclusion to Monday's Game 3, in which Tigers DH Victor Martinez and A's closer Grant Balfour got into a shouting match and benches clear, might inspire the the Tigers in Game 4. Maybe it will. But what would probably inspire the team more is a homer or two in the first couple innings, something to flip the switch on their offense.

Or else, the Tigers may be doomed.

The postseason is upon us. Spend it with The Stew.
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