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.