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Rob Parker: Expect same story for Detroit Tigers in second half, not enough pitching

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Posted at 10:57 AM, Jul 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-15 10:57:06-04

In honor of the late, great Joe Falls, it's a Fish Fry Friday!

The Tigers open the second half of their season against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park on Friday night.
And, a lot has to change if they are going to make it to the postseason, starting with their pitching.

It just hasn't been good enough. Tigers rank 13th in league in ERA at 4.57. Only Oakland and Minnesota are worse.
Despite getting a boost from rookie Michael Fulmer (9-2, 2.11), the Tigers haven't been able to make any headway with Justin Verlander and Jordan Zimmermann.

The rotation has simply been inconsistent and shoddy. Anibal Sanchez (5-10, 6.75 ERA) and Mike Pelfrey (2-8, 4.58 ERA) have both been disasters.

Many believe the bullpen was finally fixed and would be a strength, not a weakness in 2016. Nope. The bullpen, led by a terrible Mark Lowe (1-3 with a 10.05 ERA), has been bad, too. It ranks 13th in league. Opponents are batting .278 against Tigers' relievers, second-worst. 

In current state, the Tigers won't make the playoffs. And the idea that this team will add more payroll to a $200 million team isn't likely.

Before the season started, I picked them to go 81-81, finish in third place and not make the playoffs. I'm sticking with that prediction.

Doc and Darryl TV
If you were a baseball fan in the 80s, Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry moved the needle. The New York Mets had two of the biggest MLB stars on the same team at the same time. 

One, Doc, had the big arm, was a strikeout machine. And the other, Darryl, was a sweet, lefty-swinging bona fide home run hitter. His monster homers amazed. They were a two-man version of the Beatles. That's the reason Sports America went crazy, more than 30 years later for the duo after the ESPN's 30-for-30 "Doc and Darryl" aired on Thursday night.

Twitter was abuzz about the pair and how both their careers and lives went array due to drugs and alcohol.
On the surface, it's easy to paint the duo as failures, guys who ever reached their full potential. Most think because neither reached the Hall of Fame or stayed out of jail, the pair let us down.

It's not true.

Both left their marks on the game - even without making it to the Hall of Fame. Their numbers aren't disappointing or also-ran. At times, they were actually prolific. In fact, you could take their stats and used the modern way of valuing a player's worth and both rank.

According to ESPN research, Gooden has the second-most wins above replacement (53.2) for a pitcher who was a top-five pick. In Straw's case, he would rank 6th (42.0 WAR) among players selected No. 1 overall in the MLB draft.

Want more? Strawberry hit 335 homers, just outside the top 100 of all-time. Gooden ranks in the top 50 all-time among pitchers in win percentage and strikeouts.

Not bad for failures.

David Ortiz Didn't Deserve All-Star Coronation

Baseball gave David Ortiz a coronation in his final Major League Baseball All-Star Game appearance at Petco Park on Tuesday night. Still, it's hard to figure out how we wound up there.

Ortiz has been embraced, showered with love and praised to the high heavens. In some eyes, especially this sport's brain trust, Ortiz has become God-like. 

There's just one problem. Ortiz's name is muddied from one of the biggest scandal's in the sport: performance enhancing drugs.

It didn't seem to matter Tuesday night. Many were all in when he was announced to the sellout crowd. It sounded like a rock concert. Players all came out of the dugout to greet Big Papi when he was removed from the game.

Indeed, it was suitable for framing.

It was wrong. Ortiz should be questioned, probed, forced to answer all the questions that others have had to over this scandal. It's only fair. It shouldn't matter if you like a guy or if he plays to the crowd and kisses babies like he's running for mayor.

It shouldn't have been a national farewell party. We saw that take place for the New York Yankees' Derek Jeter in 2014 and Mariano Rivera three years ago.

Those made sense. Jeter and Rivera exited the sport unmarked and worthy of full appreciation.

Ortiz is getting the same treatment? No way, no how. Ortiz's name was linked to the Mitchell Report. Back in 2009, there was a report that Ortiz failed the drug-testing survey in 2003. 

This isn't about dragging Ortiz's name through the mud, dogging him just because. It's more about fair treatment.
MLB is wrong to bash and trash others for using PEDs, but play favorites and embracing others.

Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa were treated one way and Mike Piazza - long rumored for PED use - and Ortiz have been treated another way.

It's terrible. It's totally wrong.