Approaching the Tigers approach

The Tigers offense was stymied once again for the bulk of the day. After the last 2 days the common mantra was that the Tigers are way to aggressive at the plate and don’t see enough pitches – especially compared to the Yankees. While the Yankees are much more patient – the 200 additional walks are definitely indicative of that, I don’t think this series necessarily illustrated the point.

In yesterday’s game post we saw that the Tigers saw just as many pitches per plate appearance as the Yankees (actually more in the 1st game).

Today, Randy Johnson was able to make through 8 innings with fewer than 100 pitches. How much of the credit should go to Johnson and how much blame should go to the Tigers?

The Tigers had 34 plate appearances today, and 30 of them came against Johnson. The Tigers laid off the first pitch for the most part watching the initial offering sail by in 22 plate appearances. This included the first 8 hitters taking the first pitch.

The problem was that Johnson was throwing first pitch strikes. Out of the 22 times up when the Tigers took the first pitch, they found themselves down 0-1 in the count 15 times. And for those first 8 hitters who took the first pitch, 7 times that pitch went for a strike. Is it any wonder that the Tigers were more aggressive the second time through the lineup.

That’s when things went downhill for the Tigers hitters. After the first pitch, the Tigers found themselves either out or down 0-2 the bulk of the time. Here are the results after 2 pitches:

Result		PA's
In Play		10
0-2		9
1-1		5
2-0		6

Two of those 2-0 counts came to Craig Monroe and Marcus Thames in the 9th inning.

Now you can make what you want of the information. One can certainly argue that the Tigers should have been more patient when they were down 0-1 in the count. At the same time, Randy Johnson was on and around the plate consistently.

In quickly watching the replay, the Tigers were swinging at strikes for the most part. By and large they weren’t chasing pitches. They just weren’t hitting them.

It’s easy to point to the approach, especially since it has been an issue with this team for many seasons. But this isn’t the series to use to prove the point. The Tigers are slumping. And at least for today, Randy Johnson deserves a significant share of the credit.


  1. no neifi

    September 1, 2006 at 12:50 am

    We could of done better if no Neifi.

  2. Pingback: Mack Avenue Tigers: A Detroit Tigers Blog » Game 134: Goodbye August, Tigs fall

  3. Kevin

    September 1, 2006 at 8:10 am

    This is an interesting point in all of the statistical analysis stuff that has taken off with the internet….Yankee fans will look at it like Randy Johnson pitched a helluva game, and Tiger fans will look at it like the batters failed.

  4. Tater

    September 1, 2006 at 10:02 am

    Nice analysis, Billfer.

  5. Jeff Mo

    September 1, 2006 at 10:02 pm

    You’re definitely right. The whole “approach” thing is overblown. Any idiot can go up there and take a couple pitches, but if the pitchers knows that’s what you’re doing, he’ll make sure to put them over the plate. It really comes down to two things: Can you figure out what the pitcher is trying to do to you? and Can you adjust quick enough if you’re wrong?

    Our guys definitely seem to have a problem with the second question, but it is what it is. It isn’t very often that you can take a guy that’s been playing the game for a couple decades and teach him that in a few weeks, months, or even seasons. If he hasn’t figured out how to do it yet, he probably isn’t going to.

    That doesn’t mean you quit trying, of course, but it’s ludicrous to just say “What an dumb coaching staff. They can’t even get guys to take a few pitches.”

    P.S. The same thing goes for telling a pitcher to “throw first-pitch strikes.” Everyone who makes it to the Majors knows that you need to do that, but if your control is bad and the only way you can reliably get a strike is to throw it down the middle, you’re going to give up a lot of first-pitch hits.

  6. Pingback: