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Tank Race Tuesday: Tigers grrreat at losing, Marlins now in fifth

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There’s a battle brewing in the AL Central, just not the one people expected.

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The Marlins still yearn for more cheap, controllable, high-upside talent to elevate their farm system to an elite level and lay the foundation for sustainable success. Stinking against major league competition this season is a critical step in that process. We don’t need to call it “tanking,” but let’s just say—behind closed doors—Miami’s front office will tolerate plenty of 2019 losses if it means selecting near the top of the 2020 MLB Draft and maximizing their 2020-21 international bonus pool. Fish Stripes will be monitoring this “race” for you (and creating new merch inspired by it).

FanGraphs ran performance projections for every team prior to Opening Day, but also continues to provide rest-of-season projections as the real games get played. See below for details regarding the five worst teams, including the Marlins, Orioles, Royals, Tigers, and Blue Jays.

Orioles

2019 record and run differential (entering Tuesday): 20-60, minus-170

2019 projected record and run differential: 55-107, minus-242

Upcoming schedule: 7/2-7/3 at Rays, 7/5-7/7 at Blue Jays, 7/12-7/14 vs. Rays, 7/16-7/17 vs. Nationals

After a 2-4 week, the Orioles maintain a stranglehold on the league’s worst record, a whopping 4.5 games in front of the Royals.

Royals

2019 record and run differential (entering Tuesday): 29-56, minus-72

2019 projected record and run differential: 63-99, minus-119

Upcoming schedule: 7/2-7/4 vs. Cleveland, 7/5-7/7 at Nationals, 7/12-7/14 vs. Tigers, 7/15-7/18 vs. White Sox

The Royals went 2-4 over the last week and had briefly fallen into third prior to the their loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday night putting them back in front of the Tigers by one percentage point.

Tigers

2019 record and run differential (entering Tuesday): 27-52, minus-150

2019 projected record and run differential: 60-102, minus-227

Upcoming schedule: 7/2-7/4 at White Sox (including a double header on 7/3), 7/5-7/7 vs. Red Sox, 7/12-7/14 at Kansas City, 7/15-7/18 at Indians

The Tigers had five wins the entire month of June and just one in six games over the past week.

Blue Jays

2019 record and run differential (entering Tuesday): 32-53, minus-77

2019 projected record and run differential: 66-96, minus-124

Upcoming schedule: 7/2-7/4 vs. Red Sox, 7/5-7/7 vs. Orioles, 7/12-7/14 at Yankees, 7/15-7/18 at Red Sox

The Jays had a .500 week thanks to taking 3-of-4 from the Royals, but they have a tough slate ahead.

Marlins

2019 record and run differential (entering Tuesday): 32-50, minus-80

2019 projected record and run differential: 65-97, minus-149

Upcoming schedule: 7/2-7/ vs. Nationals, 7/5-7/7 vs. Braves, 7/12-7/14 vs. Mats, 7/16-7/18 vs. Padres

The Fish got swept by the Nationals at home before taking 2-of-3 from the Phillies for a 2-4 week. Miami is currently projected to finish a game worse than the Blue Jays, which would secure them the fourth-overall pick in next year’s amateur draft.