A combination of veteran additions and maturing youngsters made the struggles of 2003 a distant memory with the second-largest year-to-year improvement in American League history.
The Detroit Tigers swept the Blue Jays in Toronto, then took their home opener over the Twins for their best start since 1985 and set up their first winning April since 1993. Ivan Rodriguez, signed two weeks before Spring Training when other teams passed on him, quickly became the face and heart of the franchise. His .500 average in June was only the third such performance by a Major Leaguer in a calendar month in 25 years. He earned the Detroit Tigers their first All-Star starter since 1991. Carlos Guillen, acquired by trade from Seattle, became the best Detroit Tigers shortstop since Alan Trammell with one of the best all-around hitting seasons ever from a Detroit Tiger.