Detroit Tigers: 37-29, 1st Place (4.5 ahead of Cleveland).
Here are a few of the things that we know, statistically, about the Detroit Tiger offense at this point in the season:
They struggle on the road (.259/.726, vs. .302/.825 at home).
They are more likely than most teams to score 2 runs or fewer (18 times so far).
They are more likely than most teams to score 7 runs or more (21 times so far).
They struggle mightily in late innings, particularly in late and close situations (league worst; see yesterday’s post).
Let’s set aside the more specific late and close statistics for now, and just look at the overall late inning statistics. In innings 7-9 the Tiger hitters come out 14th best in OPS out of 15 teams (luckily that 15th team is Cleveland):
BA: .220 (13th)
OB: .276 (8th)
SLG: .313 (15th)
OPS: .622 (14th)
Runs: 57 (15th)
So once it hits the 7th inning, the Detroit Tigers are the least likely team in the American League to score. It has been said that the bullpen problems put pressure on the hitters. Doesn’t it seem likely that knowing that there are no more runs coming from the offense also puts pressure on the bullpen?
Here are the individual numbers, ranked by OPS, for inning 7-9 hitting:
Quick reaction: let’s have more Tuiasosopo!
You’ll notice above that On Base is the only category the Tigers are decent in (8th). In other words, somebody is getting a lot of late inning walks. Those somebodies are Cabrera (14) and Fielder (12), which is why they are so high up on the OPS ranking. In other words, once it gets late in games, teams are pretty much done pitching to those two.
Apparently they have plenty bases open by the time Cabrera comes up, with Hunter struggling with a .214 late inning on base percentage. Torii was the biggest surprise for me when I pulled these numbers up. Here are his splits:
Innings 1-3: .416/1.004
Innings 4-6: .273/.681
Innings 7-9: .113/.376
So there it is, over the course of a game Torii Hunter goes from a .400 hitter to an average hitter to a pitcher trying to bat. Is it fatigue? He seems to have lost a step in the outfield. Maybe Leyland knows what he is doing giving Hunter frequent days off?
Today Doug Fister takes on the Pajama Man, P.J. Walters. These two faced off on May 25, where Walters bested Fister in a 3-2 victory, sprinkling 8 hits over 6 innings. Pena had a big game against Walters (3-for-4), and Peralta hit a solo shot. Walters has pitched well since then, and has a 2.49 ERA for the season. As in his first outing against Detroit, guys do get on base against him–his WHIP is 1.46–but they don’t seem to score. Fister has his fingers crossed–the Tigers have put up a total of 4 runs in his last 4 starts.
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Let’s go with Dad here. Happy Father’s Day everybody!