The Oakland A's and the Detroit Tigers find themselves in virtually opposite situations right now.
The A's started ice-cold but have begun to heat up. They bottomed out at 14-30, a full 16 games under .500. Many of the losses were painfully close, as evidenced by (at the time) a 2-15 record in one-run games. They seemed to have a lot of talent that wasn't translating into victories due to mental errors and poor timing. However, they've welcomed back a couple of injured players and had a couple of youngsters emerge, and now they've won nine of their last 12 games. They aren't out of the hole yet -- at 23-33, they're still 10 under and hold the worst record in the AL. But things are finally moving in the right direction.
The Tigers started 11-2, and a lot of the wins were big. They held their record at nine-over until late May, when they sat at 26-17. But the armor had already begun to crack -- Victor Martinez and Alex Avila went on the DL, while Anibal Sanchez and Shane Greene started to look less and less like reliable starting options. Since then they've gone 2-10, and both wins were one-run victories over Oakland that could easily have gone the other way. Thanks to their strong start, they're still barely over .500 at 28-27, but things aren't going well in a division that is suddenly hyper-competitive. Worse yet, they were just swept by the A's themselves, and in doing so they made lots of mental errors and suffered from some poor timing; it looked like the June A's were playing the May A's. V-Mart is coming back soon, but who knows if he'll stay healthy this time or if it will be enough to turn things back around.
So the question is, which situation would you rather be in right now at the beginning of June? Would you rather be facing a big hole, but streaking toward your lofty goal with a roster that suddenly looks really good? Or would you rather have a lot of wins already in the bag and hope that the recent problems are just bumps in the road? Do you gamble on the hot streak and the hope that the roughness has been sanded off the edges, asking "what have you done for me lately?" Or do you trust that all teams are generally streaky and have faith that a strong squad with a mediocre record can make that extra push when it needs to? There's no right answer here, just something to argue about to get us through the long wait between a Thursday morning game and a Friday afternoon affair. Let's duke it out in the comments!
(If you're into run differential, the A's are at plus-10, and the Tigers are at minus-10.)