UPDATE: Getting swept at home is never a good sign, and after tonight's loss against the Indians, what I said originally seems stronger. The Tigers need to take at least three games against the Indians this weekend to redeem themselves and two games to keep in the fray of the AL Central. It's not the end of the world, though, even if they don't win two since they play eighteen times this year.
ORIGINAL POST: Don't let the Tigers' record or their close second-place standing fool you. They're not a big-time club yet this year. My criterion for this assessment is how they've fared against quality teams. This year, they've played two quality teams: Boston and Cleveland. They've lost three out of four to Boston, and they've just lost two in a row to Cleveland at home. A big test will be tomorrow against Cleveland and then next weekend's four-game jaunt in Jacobs Field. Not winning at least three of their next five games against Cleveland will put a damper on things, and they might fall into company with the Twins at the back of the AL Central. (The Royals don't count in the AL Central standings since they're always in the very back.)
But don't think that my pessimism has reached its limit. The Tigers are doing well for being without Kenny Rogers and Joel Zumaya. And Jim Leyland won't let them stay down too long.