The Second Inning – 2008

The following was compiled by DTW reader and commenter Sam Hoff. He breaks down the season into 18 game innings and reports how the team does.

The 2nd Inning is over.

Each 18 games represent 1 inning of a baseball season. The Tigers record for the first 2 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

The first 2 innings have been ugly. The team has endured a 7 game and a 5 game losing streak. The offense, whose initial starting lineup has an average lifetime BA of .297 is hitting 35 points below that collectively. The starters, 60% of who are left from the 2006 World Series team which lead the major leagues in ERA has collective ERA well over 5 with the best performance coming from an 8-year minor leaguer.

The good news is that the team is only 3.5 games out of first and if they play near their career norms should be able to easily make that up. In 2006, the Tigers last 3 innings were 9-9, 5-13, and 9-9 and that team went to the World Series. In 2007, the Tigers had 2 successive 7-11 innings (innings 6 and 7). In 2003, you couldn’t piece 2 innings together where the Tigers had as many as 15 wins!

The bullpen had a very good 2nd inning lead by Bobby Seay (5 scoreless innings), the departed Jason Grilli (4 scoreless) and Clay Rapada (1.59 era in 5.2 innings). The only member of the bullpen with an era over 5.00 was Denny Bautista (8.44era in 5.2 innings).

The starters were consistent as each of them had exactly 1 win. Galarraga (1-1-3.18) and Bonderman (1-1-3.93) were respectable. Rogers (1-0-6.19), Robertson (1-3-6.38), and Verlander (1-3-5.84) all really struggled. Verlander is a big concern as he has never looked this bad in his career and rumors are circulating that his shoulder is hurting.

The highest OPS in the 2nd inning belonged to Ramon Santiago (1-8-312/421/750) in 16 At Bats! Marcus Thames (1-4-412/444/588), Polanco (2-8-383/422/583), Granderson (5-10-254/362/593) and Ordonez (4-17-324/397/544) have all been hot. The guys who struggled in the 2nd inning were Inge (1-4-154/292/231), Guillen (0-8-246/333/281), and the departed Jacque Jones (1-2-146/265/317).

It is NOT time to hit the panic button. The Yankees started 21-29 last year and made the playoffs. The team definitely needs to start playing better baseball and the biggest disappointment, the starting pitching, needs to get better. Here’s hoping it does, otherwise when the Wings and Pistons are over, all we will have to look forward to are the Lions???

16 thoughts on “The Second Inning – 2008”

  1. I was at the game 3 times this week

    Yesterday (Rogers v Igawa)

    Thursday (Verlander v Beckett)

    Tuesday (Robertson v Wakefield)

    Lets just say I’m going to reiterate what I’ve said before

    Sheffield needs to be put on the DL

    Inge needs to play 3rd, yes because I like him, and b/c our infield looks a hell of a lot better

    Guillen to DH (he might be surpassing Inge as my favorite Tiger) However, if he is put in the DH spot

    A) His rapidly declining defense due to his rickety knee, and sometimes bad ball transfer(sadly b/c in 2004 he was “slick as silk”) will not be present

    B) He will be able to bat in many more games if the majority of them he doesn’t have to field, and I will put an educated guess out there – he will be more effective!

    C) Plus Inge rocks and I think he would have continued his semi-hot start if he wasn’t catching every other day (or so it seems)

    Also Granderson has looked terrible at the plate lately, =(,

  2. I might have been convinced a couple of weeks ago that Sheff needed to go on the DL.

    However, that seems extremely unlikley at this point:

    Over 9 games the last 2 weeks:

    30 At bats, 5 Runs, 9 Hits, 4 RBI, 8 BB and 1 SB, giving him a .300 BA/ and a .447 OBP over that stretch.

    The last 2 games he’s 4 for 8 with a 2B and 2 RBI.

    It corroborates the theory that he hits better when he’s not relegated to DH. He’s the 2nd best base runner on the team. His bat speed is, even now, above average, and while most of his line shots have been foul, recently, I haven’t seen a Tiger hit the ball with greater velocity than Sheffield.

    If they didn’t see the need to DL him 2 weeks ago, I don’t see how these recent trends would change Leyland’s or Dombrowski’s mind.

    I agree with the other points of Guillen to DH and Inge to 3B.

  3. Sheffield seems to be getting on track with his hitting. So far in this season, he’s on course with repeating his ’07 early flip of the switch from ice cold in April to red hot in May. That would be a great thing if that does happen. And if somehow Caberra can get out of his recent slump at the same time, this team would be the juggernaut that everybody expected.

    And I now like the idea of having Sheff play left field as well. Despite people’s complaints, he seems to be good enough at that position to justify such a move. This situation will now allow Ordonez, Cabrerra & Guillen to share the DH role.

    And if everything works out with Sheffield in LF and hitting up to his reputation, I would think it could increase his trade value. Toronto & San Diego are two teams that are flush with good pitching depth but are in desperate need for offense. Maybe the Tigers can make a package deal of hot hitting Sheffield, along with a struggling young ace named Verlander, for a Jake Peavy or a Roy Halladay.

  4. Guys,

    I still do not like Inge’s bat enough to put him at 3B everyday. Guillen is getting better there and while he is not Inge, can certainly handle that position.


  5. The real question with Sheff: It seems he can still get on base and run the bases, can he hit for power?
    If not, he’s Timo from last year.

  6. Why would Sheff go on the DL? He’s been hitting well lately.

    And God no, don’t trade Verlander and Sheff for Halladay or Peavy. Verlander will be just as good as them, and he’s younger.

  7. Sorry to burst your bubble, but Verlander isn’t going to be as good as Peavy or Halladay. haven’t you been paying attention to his past eight starts? Neither Peavy or Halladay have gone through stretches as bad as that. I’ve seen enough to know that he is never going to be an ace.

    But as long as the Verlander Bubble is there, I definitely think the Tigers should trade him for a real top of the rotation guy.

  8. Yes, Peavy has. He was actually this bad, statistically, not just for 8 starts but for about half of 2006. Halladay also for a couple months of a recent season, I forget which one. I’d have to look it up, but he was this bad, statistically.

  9. Chris… sigh. Once again you have made irresponsible, overemotional assertions that you could have fact-checked in the space of about five minutes.

    Peavy had seven absolutely wretched starts in the first half of 2006, and three more that were about on par with what Verlander is doing right now. In his third year (2000), Halladay had 13 starts and ran up a 10.54 ERA — for the year. In the first half of 2007, he gave up five or more runs in six starts.

    Both pitchers have had stretches of at least this long (you do realize this season has only been a month and a half, right?) in which they performed at least as poorly as Verlander has. Please do us all a favor and think about the veracity of your posts before you hit the submit button, as some of us still care about facts.

  10. Not to pile on Chris,

    But Roy Halladay for 11 starts from 5/5/2007-7/12/2007 (just last year):

    6.34era – 92 hits allowed in 66.1 innings!!

    Somehow in true Halladay fashion still went 6-4, but the stats certainly compare with Verlanders.


  11. It would also be interesting to see Verlander’s BAA thru 100 pitches, and BAA 100+, seems like he had 2-3 great outings that went sour quickly because JL left him in too long.

  12. Greg —

    He has between a .260 and .289 BAA through pitch 75, at which point it jumps to .359 (!).

  13. So, how long before management considers replacing our pitching coach? Tiger pitchers performed very well in 2006 in Chuck Hernandez’s first year, but since then have progressively turned in poor outings. I am very concerned with this trend and am wondering just how much of an affect a pitching coach actually has on a staff. If it were just one or two pitchers, it would be easier to swallow, but the problems are across the board. That makes me look toward the one common denominator – Chuck. Whatever he’s doing, its just not working. And so far, it’s not getting better. Right now, a proven successful former pitching coach sits idly by just chomping at the bit to get back into the majors – Leo Mazzone. A bold move like replacing Chuck for Leo could be the catalyst for the resurgence of our staff. Now I know its uncommon for a pitching coach to get axed in the middle of a season, but geez, we have an extremely high priced team failing miserably. I’m usually a patient person, but I don’t see things changing for the better in the near future. Does anyone else feel my pain??? (by the way, I know we’re not hitting either, but the bats will come around. Besides, don’t you think the hitters press too much when they are constantly down 3 or 4 to nothing in the 2nd inning?)

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