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Know Your Enemy: Detroit Tigers

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Their window could be closing.

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch will turn 86 this summer.

His team's management and players have been trying very hard to win him just one World Series title while he's still on Earth.

They've won at least 88 games each of the last four years and made the playoffs all four seasons, and exited without doing that every time. Once it happened in the division series, twice in the LCS, and once in the World Series.

They'll give it another shot this year with an aging core that's been augmented by some acquisitions of younger players. Yoenis Cespedes, who's never been quite as good as he was his rookie year, was acquired from the Red Sox for Rick Porcello (a couple others were involved in that deal). Max Scherzer left as a free agent. So that makes two fewer good starting pitchers in the Tigers' rotation.

They are going to try to replace those two with a combination of Alfredo Simon (acquired from the Reds), Shane Greene (acquired from the Yankees) and Kyle Lobstein (from Detroit's farm system). Simon was good last year, but there's no guarantee he can pick up where Scherzer left off, and Greene and Lobstein are still question marks.

And that's not even mentioning the Tigers' bullpen, which was horrific last year both in the regular season and in the division series loss to the Orioles. After a very good year for the Rangers in 2013, Joe Nathan was pathetically bad as closer for the Tigers in 2014. He did post 35 saves, but with a 4.81 ERA and 1.534 WHIP and seven blown saves, some in spectacular fashion. The Tigers do have another former closer, Joakim Soria, in the pen, but he wasn't much better.

Detroit picked up Anthony Gose from the Blue Jays. Gose was once a top prospect but has been pretty mediocre in three partial seasons in Toronto. On the other hand, he's just 24 and still might make it. Nick Castellanos at third base is even younger, just 23, and they'll be hoping he fulfills the huge potential that had many teams (including the Cubs) interested in dealing for him.

Otherwise, guys like Miguel Cabrera, Alex Avila and Victor Martinez return, and the Tigers have to keep hoping they don't all get old and decline together. (Cabrera almost certainly won't.)

The Cubs will face the Tigers in a two-game set in Detroit June 9 and 10, and for a pair at Wrigley Field August 18 and 19.