The 9th Inning

All season, reader Sam Hoff has been calculating the team’s performance over 18 game stretches. Why 18? Because it represents 1/9th, or one inning of the season. Here is his 9th inning report. Thanks to Sam for his contributions all season

The 9th Inning is over.

Each 18 games represent 1 inning of a baseball season. The Tigers record for each inning in 2007:

                                                     Starters:         Bullpen:
    W-L   RS-RA   HR-SB-AVG/OBA/SLG    W-L-IP-   ERA       W-L-S-ERA
1: 10-8   86 -79  17-9 -235/313/380    5-2-110.2-3.66      5-6-8-4.68 
2: 13-5   112-97  23-10-308/377/518    9-3-102.1-4.84      4-2-8-5.03
3: 7-11   110-96  26-7 -310/364/517    7-7-110.2-3.99      0-4-3-7.80
4: 13-5   136-75  20-5 -324/390/508   13-4-103.0-4.37      0-1-2-3.47
5: 11-7   91 -79  23-20-272/357/443   10-5-112.0-3.46      1-2-7-3.33 
6: 7-11   84 -113 17-8 -276/325/415    3-8- 99.2-6.59      4-3-6-4.31
7: 7-11   83 -110 20-10-266/315/436   4-10-101.0-6.50      3-1-4-5.12
8: 10-8   95 -77  15-18-298/373/455    4-5- 91.1-4.93      6-3-1-3.18
9: 10-8   90 -71  16-16-292/349/445    7-6-101.1-4.17      3-2-5-3.15

In my 8th inning recap I said that the Tigers needed a 14 win 9th inning to have a shot. In retrospect, that wouldn’t have been good enough. They would of needed 16 wins to tie the Yankees, or subjectively 15 wins including a sweep of the Indians to tie them. The 9th inning started 5-1 before getting swept at Cleveland which effectively ended the hope for post season. They played 5-4 after being swept.

In looking at the season above, it is the three 7-11 innings that did the Tigers in. It is no coincidence that those 3 innings are also the only inning in which either the bullpen or the starters had an era over 5.03. No matter what the Tiger offense does (and they outscored the 2006 version by 65 runs), it all comes down to pitching as the Tigers 2007 ERA jumped by 0.74 (3.84 to 4.58). Those numbers are even more exaggerated when you consider that the American League saw less scoring in 2007.

I’d like to say the Tigers should rebound, but they have the oldest batters in AL (average age 30.9, older than the Yankees 30.6). They also have the 5th oldest pitching staff (28.5, lower than only Boston, NYY, Baltimore, and Cleveland). The pitching age is probably a deceiving figure as the Tigers do have a bevy of young starters.

In the 9th inning, the offense was lead by regulars Ordonez 2-11-397/462/603, Guillen 2-8-299/356/478, and Granderson 2-3-273/355/455. Casey ended his Tiger career with 1-6-424/457/545 in 33 abs. Timo Perez flirted with 400 having 0-7-381/409/500. Righty platoon players Hessman, Rayburn, and Thames went a combined 6-20-302/333/698 on only 63 abs (Interestingly Rayburn and Hessman hit RHP better during the year, although Thames had a huge advantage against LHP). Polanco went 1-4-309/338/412 and Santiago had a similar 0-5-312/333/406. Sheffield> 1-4-234/379/319, Pudge> 0-7-269/278/346, and Inge> 0-6-167/224/222 all limped to the end of personal subpar years. Rabelo, Infante, Cleven, and Maybin went a combined 1-4-163/200/279 in 43 abs.

The Starters were lead by Nate Robertson who was 2-2-3.25era in 4 starts (Nate also had a nice 1st inning as he was 4-3-2.67era-1.15whip in the 1st and 9th innings, and 5-10-5.68-1.62 in innings 2-8). Verlander was 2-1-4.38 giving up 6 HRs including 4 against Cleveland in his 9/18 start. Rogers may have ended his career with 0-2-4.26-1.63. Jurrgens 2-0-5.74-1.34 and Bazardo 1-0-1.84-1.16 may have given us a preview of things to come in 2008.

The bullpen had a very solid 9th inning performance. Lefties Tim Byrdak and Bobby Seay completed very nice seasons by combining for 2-0-0.69-0.92 in 13 innings. Righties Grilli and Miner combined for 0-1-2.25-1.58 in 12 innings. The back end of the bullpen of Zoom-Zoom, Rodney, and Jones combined for 1-1-5sv-2.75-1.07 in 19.2 innings. The rest of the bullpen was 0-0-8.38-1.55 in 9.2 innings.

It should be an interesting off season. The last 2 years have been similar in the fact that the team started strong then hit huge speed bump. In 2006 the Tigers had the best record in baseball at 76-36 on 8/7, but went 11-23 in their next 34 games then finished 8-8 to go 95-67. In 2007, the Tigers had the best record in baseball at 57-36 on 7/19, but went 11-23 in their next 34 games. A 20-15 after that lead to an 88-74 overall finish.