The Detroit Tigers are 9-9 and in third place in the American League Central -- a game-and-a-half behind the division-leading Kansas City Royals. 

Yeah. 

The Royals. 

Some fans are already panicking about Detroit's .500 start.

Some are beyond panic, and Bless You Boys/Detroit News columnist Kurt Mensching addresses something in  today's piece that some worried Tigers followers may be thinking about at this very moment. 

From Mensching: 

Before trying to find a solution to the bullpen woes outside of the organization, team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski has to try out the several options he has on the farm.

That means promoting any combination of Bruce Rondon, Jose Ortega, Luis Marte, Luke Putkonen and — yes — Jose Valverde before any trades are seriously considered.

As for the Tigers, getting back to being the Tigers is the goal. A 4-4 West Coast swing thanks to the likes of Los Angeles Angels righty Garrett Richards and other on-fire pitchers, has Detroit fans questioning the potency of the offense in key situations. 

The Tigers left the bases loaded thrice in the series finale with the Angels. 

Don't scream "fire Jim Leyland" or get too bent out of shape -- we're talking about a favorite in the AL that's having early issues. It's only April. The true mark, as most of us have been told, is the 40-game plateau. 

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