The Detroit Tigers have easily the most formidable lineup in all of baseball (Curtis Granderson, Placido Polanco, Gary Sheffield, Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Ivan Rodriguez, and Carlos Guillen). But they're dead last in the standings. Coming into Wednesday, Detroit is 0-7 and five games behind the White Sox in the AL Central. No team has ever made the playoffs after starting 0-7.
On one hand, I have every reason to believe that Detroit will dig themselves out of the bog they're in. They have 155 games to make up 5 games. In 2006, the Twins made up a 12.5 game deficit with 114 games to go and won the division. And the Yankees had a bad stretch at the beginning of last year too, so there's no reason for a team with a lineup this great to worry.
However... the Miami Heat are a reminder that that optimism isn't always valid. Remember at the beginning of the year, Shaq was talking about the Heat turning it around and flipping that proverbial switch. Well it never happened, and they really were the worst team in the NBA. The Tigers are from that, but in a division with the White Sox, Indians, and Royals (who are off to their best start in forever), it's not surreal to think they could miss the playoffs. It's just unlikely.