The 3rd inning – 2008

Last year Sam Hoff started breaking down the season into 18 games segments, each representing 1/9th of the season, or an “inning.” Here is the 3rd inning report.

The 3rd Inning is over.

Each 18 games represent 1 inning of a baseball season. The Tigers record for the first 3 innings in 2008:

                                         Starters:         Bullpen:
    W-L   RS –RA     HR-SB-AVG/OBA/SLG    W-L-IP-   ERA     W-L-S-ERA
1:  6-12  74 -112    15-10-262/345/404    3-9- 96.2-5.96    3-3-3-5.28 
2:  9-9   98 -87     21- 6-261/350/426    5-8-105.2-5.11    4-1-2-3.61
3:  8-10  89 -75     19- 2-275/326/442    8-5-109.2-4.19    0-5-4-3.83

In the 3rd inning the Tigers endured a 5-game losing streak. They have now had at least a 5-game losing streak in every inning. The optimist in me says that 23-31 matches the record the 2006 AL Champs had during the last third of that campaign. The realist in me says that the team just plays bad baseball and could very easily end the 2008 campaign losing more games than they win.

Based on Pythagorean theory, the 3rd inning should of yielded a record of 10 or 11 wins, but a 1-4 record in 1-run games, an 0-5 bullpen, and 19-3 win which blows Pythagorean off balance means only 8 wins. The team is now in 4th place and 7.0 games back.

The offense, a unit, is still not performing at their career levels. Only 2 stolen bases in the last 18 games indicate that the team is in too much of a station to station mode. Best performances were by Magglio (3-11-368/419/603), Thames (3-10-259/310/704), and Cabrera (2-9-333/387/500). Guys who are struggling are Granderson (1-7-269/275/358-1bb-11Ks), Sheffield (1-6-234/294/362), and Raburn (0-0-160/192/240-25abs). Inge’s line (1-7-188/188/438 – 32abs) indicates that he is swinging for the downs which is not his best suit.

The starters were much improved in the 3rd inning. Verlander (1-1-1.89) had his best performance. Galarraga (2-1-3.98), Robertson (2-1-4.74), and Rogers (2-1-5.24) each won 2 games. Bonderman (1-1-4.63) is still searching for consistency.

The bullpen had pretty good statistics (3.83era- 45 hits in 49.1 innings), but did go 0-5 as a group. Some of that could be due to the offense not scoring late in tight games. Zach Miner pitched a scoreless 10.1 innings and Freddy Dolsi had a 1.12era in 8 innings yet somehow each of these guys got a loss. Cruceta was bad as he had 2 loses giving up 9 hits and 7 walks in 7.2 innings (4.70era). Todd Jones knew when to give up runs as he was 3/3 in save opportunities but had a 7.50era in 6 innings.

I am presently watching the Tigers start the 4th inning by possibly getting shutout for the 9th time this year. It is NOW time to hit the panic button. I think Jim Leyland senses that. If the next 2 innings aren’t very good, I think the unbelievable will happen as the Tigers will become sellers at the trade deadline.


  1. Chris

    June 1, 2008 at 12:55 am

    What exactly is the panic button, anyway? How do we know when they have hit it?

    I imagine if the season keeps going the way it has, there won’t be any reason to panic. It would just be a time the organization and even the fans to look toward ’09. If there was any time for panic, it was earlier this month when we all saw patterns of dismal performances brewing into a really bad losing month.

    There is no need for a panic button because, at this point, they are not in position to be panicked. If they were anywhere near contention, and things started going poorly, or they had a string of key injuries, then yes. You hit the panic button.

    The panic button had been pressed, three weeks ago. The only button left is the “Yawn” button.

  2. Dave BW

    June 1, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Immediate observations: 1) Man, that OBA has gone all to hell. 2) it’s weird that the “inning” with the most SB was the one in which Granderson didn’t take part. 3) Yes! Average pitching!

  3. Chris

    June 1, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    One encouraging about this “Inning” of 18 games, is that the starters have gone at least 5 innings or more for all but innings. The starting pitching has been a lot better. The big problem that has plagued this period is the offense.

  4. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 2, 2008 at 12:19 am

    I think Sam is right about hitting the panic button. The Tigers have to be absolutely red-hot from here on out to make the playoffs. close to a .667 pace, I’d say. Starting now, not next week, not by the end of June. Now.

    I don’t like the way problems have been finessed rather than tackled head on, all season. The decisions haven’t been all bad, but the worst have been disastrous, all the more so because they have been stubbornly stuck with. And they don’t get admitted as mistakes when they’re abandoned, either (Guillen at 3B, for instance). This more than just a lousy May is what’s really starting to get to me about this ballclub.

    Guillen in LF and Willis doing rehab with Detroit rather than Toledo. Interesting experiments? Um… maybe. Clear-headed solutions, no. Looks like more finessing to me.

    It’s hard to see anything better than 74-88 coming out of these guys, fire sale or no fire sale. I do hope for more, though. I really do.

  5. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 2, 2008 at 12:40 am

    “Only 2 stolen bases in the last 18 games”

    Yes, down from a whopping 6 in Inning 2. Not to criticize Sam, but the Tigers pretty much define station to station.

  6. Kevin in Austin

    June 2, 2008 at 12:59 am

    Thanks for putting all of this together Sam, read through it twice.

  7. William

    June 2, 2008 at 8:11 am

    “The realist in me says that the team just plays bad baseball and could very easily end the 2008 campaign losing more games than they win”

    agree totally. 54 games is probably not a trend. it’s reality.

  8. Sam

    June 2, 2008 at 9:48 am

    The one encouraging sign this year is that despite trading away so many prospects during the last off season, the minor league teams continue to do well and they seem to bring up decent talent from the system.