DETROIT (AP) — Al Avila is known for his candor http://www.metsfanproshop.com/authentic-tim-tebow-jersey , and the Detroit general manager has remained pretty straightforward about what the future holds for the Tigers.Yes, they’re still rebuilding.“The only reason I’m being honest is because: How do you hide this?” Avila joked earlier this offseason. “I’m exaggerating, but it’s a necessary process.”After two consecutive 98-loss seasons, the Tigers are expected to struggle again this year. And their outlook went from bad to worse when right-hander Michael Fulmer was told he should have Tommy John surgery. Detroit still has Miguel Cabrera, who is hoping for a healthier season after playing only 38 games last year — but the real question in 2019 is how the next generation of Tigers is progressing.Detroit does have some intriguing prospects, and by the end of this year, the team might have a better sense of how much longer this rebuild might last.“I think it’s going to be a season of growth in many respects,” owner Chris Ilitch said at spring training .Casey Mize, the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, impressed this spring, and fellow pitchers Franklin Perez and Matt Manning are well regarded. None of them has pitched above Double-A, however Devin Mesoraco Jersey , so patience will remain the order of the day in Detroit.The Tigers had a reasonably quiet offseason, making low-risk additions to their infield and pitching staff. Detroit opens the season at Toronto on March 28, and the Tigers’ home opener is April 4 against Kansas City.NEW FACESDetroit’s middle infield will have a new look. The Tigers signed shortstop Jordy Mercer and second baseman Josh Harrison, both of whom played previously with Pittsburgh. Detroit also added left-hander Matt Moore and right-hander Tyson Ross. All are on one-year contracts, and if any of them have great seasons, they could obviously be traded for more prospects.ROOKIES TO WATCHChristin Stewart is an outfield prospect who hit 23 home runs in Triple-A last year and made his major league debut in September. Detroit’s top pitching prospects may remain in the minors for a while, but keep an eye on Stewart and outfielder Daz Cameron in the meantime. Cameron was assigned to minor league camp in mid-March, but he spent some time at Triple-A last season and may not be too far from contributing to the Tigers.TOP SLUGGER?Cabrera is coming off biceps surgery and will turn 36 in April, so it’s fair to wonder if the two-time MVP can be an offensive star again. He hit only .249 with 16 home runs in 130 games in 2017, although he was hitting just under .300 last year when he was shut down for the season. Cabrera is 35 home runs away from 500.ROTATION WATCHFulmer’s elbow problems were a major blow to the rotation. The 2016 American League Rookie of the Year has had a hard time staying healthy recently and went just 3-12 with a 4.69 ERA last year. Now it’s hard to say when he’ll pitch again. Jordan Zimmermann hasn’t been very effective since joining the Tigers in 2016, and Daniel Norris has had injury problems of his own since coming over in the 2015 trade that sent David Price to Toronto.Matthew Boyd, acquired in that same deal http://www.metsfanproshop.com/authentic-tim-tebow-jersey , posted a career-best 4.39 ERA last year and made 31 starts. With the additions of Moore and Ross, the Tigers have their share of experienced starters — it’s just not clear how many of them will be healthy and effective at a given time.BRIGHT SPOT?Outfielder Nicholas Castellanos has been the subject of trade speculation. He hit .298 with 23 home runs and 89 RBIs last year, and he just turned 27. If Cabrera is healthy, he and Castellanos will likely be the most feared bats in the lineup. Baseball fans have been lucky over the past seven Octobers, as four of the seven World Series range from "good and competitive" to "all-time classic" on the championship spectrum.This year's Fall Classic may fall somewhere in there if recent playoff results are any indication, as the American League and National League Championship Series haven't seen a shortage of on- (and sometimes off-) field drama.Here's a look ahead at the World Series schedule of dates, alongside some ticket information and pennant-winner predictions.Schedule of DatesTuesday, October 23 (Game 1): National League winner at American League winnerWednesday, October 24 (Game 2): National League winner at American League winnerFriday, October 26 (Game 3): American League winner at National League winnerSaturday, October 27 (Game 4): American League winner at National League winnerSunday, October 28 (Game 5 Pedro Martinez Jersey , if necessary): American League winner at National League winnerTuesday, October 30 (Game 6, if necessary):National League winner at American League winnerWednesday, October 31 (Game 7, if necessary):National League winner at American League winnerTicket InfoWorld Series tickets can be purchased through StubHub. Matchup PredictionsAmerican LeagueRight-handed ace Justin Verlander gets the starting call for the Astros on Thursday. He wasn't his usual dominant self in Boston for Game 1, although a six-inning, two-run, six-strikeout outing is still impressive on the road against a 108-win team.However, the Astros could still put Verlander on the mound even if they had their pick of any MLB starter for this do-or-die game.The 35-year-old right-hander struck out an American League-leading 290 batters while posting a 2.52 ERA in 214.0 innings this past season.He's also been dominant in the playoffs since 2013, punching out 86 batters in 76.0 innings alongside a 2.01 ERA. Verlander hasn't allowed fewer than three earned runs (or pitched fewer than five full frames) in 12 starts during that span.On the opposite mound, the Boston Red Sox will skip team ace Chris Sale, as the southpaw has battled a stomach illness that forced him to spend a night in the hospital. Red Sox manager Alex Cora provided an update before Game 4 Max Kepler Jersey , noting that Sale is"feeling better compared to yesterday, but physically he's not there yet. So I think if necessary he'll pitch Game 6. He feels that he'll be ready for that one. And we'll go from there."Left-hander David Price is getting the call for the Red Sox, but he's starting on three days rest and has allowed seven earned runs in 6.1 playoff innings. Houston and Verlander have the edge here. Following a potential win, however, Houston would then be tasked with beating Sale at Fenway Park for Game 6, and that's a tall order even with tough right-hander Gerrit Cole presumably opposing him. Sale struck out 237 batters in 158.0 innings alongside a 2.11 ERA (and microscopic 1.98 FIP).Betting against Sale at home in a series-clinching game isn't a safe wager, so the prediction here is for Boston to take Game 6 and move onto the World Series for the first time since its 2013 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.National LeagueDodgers southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu will begin Game 6. He was L.A.'sGame 2 starter versus Milwaukee and allowed two earned runs and six hits in 4.1 innings.The Brewers will go with left-hander Wade Miley, who started Game 5 and walked leadoff hitter Cody Bellinger before being pulled. Miley wasn't hurt, nor did he receive one of the quickest hooks of all time from a disgruntled manager.Rather,skipper Craig Counsell's planwas for L.A. to build its lineup in response to a southpaw before Milwaukee tossed it over to right-hander Brandon Woodruff.Miley will now be faced with helping keep Milwaukee's season alive, although one has to wonder if manager Craig Counsell goes for a similar tactic again. In any case, Miley may be gone at the slightest hint of trouble Zach Duke Jersey , especially considering the fact that the Brewers' top three relievers (Josh Hader, Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress) will have the benefit of a few days' rest before Friday (Hader and Knebel last pitched Tuesday, while Jeffress' most recent appearance was Monday).L.A.'s bullpen has the benefit of rest as well: Right-hander Pedro Baez was the only reliever to toss more than nine pitches on Wednesday, and the entire team enjoys a day off Thursday. For the postseason, L.A. sports a 2.55 bullpen ERA.Game 6 is tough to call given how difficult it is to project when the managers will dip into the bullpens (who could have guessed Counsell would do so after five pitches Wednesday?). If we're strictly focusing on the starter matchup, Ryu(89 strikeouts in 82.1 innings and a 1.97 ERA) has an edge over Miley (50 strikeouts in 80.2 innings and a 2.57 ERA). On the flip side, the Brewers are an NL-best 51-30 at home and have a near-invincible weapon in Hader, who has pitched nine scoreless innings and allowed just five hits (and no runs) since the team's NL Central tie-breaking win over the Chicago Cubs.It's a coin-flip game, but the guess is Ryu fares well and the Dodgers get to Miley (and/or his successor) early. Look for the L.A. bullpen to then hold on late as the Dodgers take the pennant.
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