Coming up with a word to describe the Detroit Tigers' play of late is not easy.
"Inconsistent" comes to mind. "Puzzling" may be accurate. "Frustrating" may be the best of all three.
There was that 9-20 skid mid-May into June after a solid start to the season.
Not long ago, the Tigers lost 2 of 3 games to the worst team in the American League, the Houston Astros.
Then they swept the Oakland A's, the best team in the AL, in three games.
The Tigers followed that up by dropping 3 of 4 to the lowly Tampa Bay Rays, though the Rays were playing their best baseball of the season at that point.
This past week, the Tigers beat the Los Angeles Dodgers - the No. 1 team in the National League's West Division - twice in as many games, then won the first two games of a key series against their closest Central Division rivals, the Kansas City Royals.
It's almost like the Tigers play to the strength of their opponent. The better the team, the better they play.
I was at Comerica Park on Saturday, July 5, when the Tigers fell to the Rays, 7-2. I had felt pretty good about the Tigers' chances of winning when they sent Anibal Sanchez to the mound.
But he fell apart after a strong start and the Tigers' offense - without injured star designated hitter Victor Martinez - only came up with solo home runs by Alex Avila and J.D. Martinez.
Detroit looked listless, while the Rays were making sparkling plays in the field and coming up with timely hits.
There was little for Tigers fans to cheer about that day. Even the poutine hot dog which my older son, Clint, said I just HAD to try was unremarkable.
My sister Lynne and I were simply underwhelmed about the whole experience, save for our seats in the lower deck down the rightfield line. They were good.
Major League Baseball seasons are marathons, not sprints. All teams have ups and downs, many more so than others.
But if the Tigers hope to make the postseason and eventually, the World Series, they'll have to be more consistent and play with more energy, more purpose.
That means stretching a double into a triple, or diving for liners to the outfield. These kind of plays may backfire, but at least we know the Tigers are giving 100 percent.
They have one of the best records in baseball right now, but they far from dominate. There's a nagging feeling in this corner they could be doing better.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is email@example.com.