Game 82: Tigers at Twins

PREGAME: The Tigers and Twins with their records sufficiently padded against the NL, will do battle tonight in the Metrodome. The Tigers will be without Magglio Ordonez. But the Twins placed their right fielder on the DL yesterday as well. Of course Michael Cuddyer is hitting 252/324/376 this year so it isn’t really a fair trade off.

The Twins of course are one of the hottest teams in baseball and had a 10 game win streak snapped on Saturday. Somehow the Twins are scoring at the same rate as the Tigers. I say somehow because while the Twins have an above average batting average they have a below average OBP and as a team they are only slugging .399. In other words they are giving up 50 points of OPS to the Tigers. Their secret is a .313 batting average with runners in scoring position. That leads the AL by a ton with the White Sox second at .284.

As for the Twins pitching staff, they aren’t helped by their below average defense. Opponents are slugging .440 against the Twins which is highest in the league and they have a pretty pedestrian 5.7 K/9. But they are a half walk better per game in not allowing free passes than the next best team.

The pitching match-up tonight is lefty Glen Perkins and righty Armando Galarraga. Galarraga will be facing the Twins for the 3rd time after losing the first two match-ups. He’s also coming off his roughest start of the season. Glenn Perkins has allowed 3 runs in each of his last 4 starts, but the length of said starts ranged from 5 to 8 innings.

For more on the Twins check out Seth Speaks, Stick and Ball Guy, and Twins Geek and Twins Territory.

DET @ MIN, Monday, June 30, 2008 Game Preview – Baseball-Reference.com

Game Time 8:10

POSTGAME: I think this is the definition of “gutting one out.” This game was a lot of ugly for the first 6 innings of this game from a Tigers standpoint. Armando Galarraga was pitching pretty well, but was getting little defensive support. There were 3 errors and a misplayed ball by Ryan Raburn. The Tigers also failed to cash in on an early 2nd and 3rd – 1 out situation. And they lost their clean-up hitter to injury. Yet some late inning magic leaves the orange and blue striped protagonists feeling good.

A one out single by Curtis Granderson (2 more hits off of a south paw tonight for Grandy) in the 7th mercifully chased Glen Perkins and the Tigers got busy on the parade of arms brought out of the Twins bullpen.

Matt Joyce came off the bench and tripled in the tying run in the 7th inning continuing the string of big freakin’ clutch hits from players on loan from the Mud Hens. And it was Granderson picking up his 3rd hit (which pushed his average over .300) to give the team the lead.

It was a very nice performance from the Tigers bullpen with Casey Fossum retiring 4 batters and Joel Zumaya pitching under some duress after a couple cheap hits in the 9th to get the 1.2 inning save.

314 thoughts on “Game 82: Tigers at Twins”

  1. I hate to throw cold water on all the excitement based on how “great” the Tigers have been playing lately, but I think it is good to temper this optimism with a bit of skepticism. After all, for the last three weeks MLB has been engaged in what I like to call the Silly Season (I hate interleague play).

    Take a look at the AL standings before and after interleague play (I’m passing on the NL because, well, I don’t care. I just don’t give a hoot if Arizona takes the NL West with an 80-82 record at the end of the year):

    EAST Before After
    BOS —- / .5
    TB 1.5 / —-
    NY 4.5 / 5.5
    BAL 7 / 7.5
    TOR 6.5 / 10

    CENT Before After
    CHI —- / —-
    MN 3.5 / 1.5
    DET 6 / 5.5
    CLE 3.5 / 9.5
    KC 10.5 / 9.5

    WEST Before After
    LA —- / —–
    OAK 4.5 / 3.5
    TX 6.5 / 7.5
    SEA 16.5 / 17.5

    Three weeks further into the season and what major changes in the AL races do we see? In the East, TB and BOS have switched spots. In the Central, the Twins are a little better and Cleveland has tanked. And in the West – well look at that. Basically, the differences between the real contenders in each division are only a game or two at best.

    Because the NL is so bad (a tick over .400 winning percentage in IL play), the results of the last three weeks of play really don’t tell much – almost all AL teams kicked butt (played “great”). All we really know is that Toronto has no chance in the East, (which isn’t a big surprise), Seattle is still bad (also not a big surprise), and Cleveland will probably be conducting a fire sale soon (somewhat of a surprise).

    Pad-Your-Stats Time (especially for the AL) is now over and the Junior Circuit teams have to get back to playing really meaningful games against each other.

    Have the Tigers turned the corner? On first glance it looks like so, but there are still some nagging question marks as far as the offense (many missed opportunities) and bullpen (blown responsibilities) are concerned.

    I’m happy that they have pulled themselves over .500 finally, but given the quality of the recent opposition I’m just not convinced yet that they will be able to win the division, which is what they need to do, since the wild card team is likely coming from the East. Somehow they have to reverse that horrible (worst) in-division performance (10-19 as compared to CHI 21-11, a difference of 9.5 games). It all begins tonight against the Twins. Who is for real, who are the fakes?

  2. I just talked the wife into going to this one. This will be my first Tigs game away from Detroit. (I moved to Minneapolis three weeks ago)

  3. Vince: Good points. Remember that this all started with a sweep of the White Sox, though. So there’s that. Undoubtedly, playing the Weak Sisters of the Poor helped get the ball rolling but I think the Tigers can sustain some of this momentum. I see the Twins fading some. They’re hitting like .315 with RISP as a team, which is really hard to sustain. Outside of Mauer and Morneau there’s not really anyone that strikes fear into you in that lineup. The Sox have been playing great, but I don’t see Danks and Floyd doing what they’re doing for the entire season. Not yet anyway. The Tigers have their warts and everything, but I think their talent will prevail over the long haul. Call me a cokceyed optimist.

  4. “Their secret is a .313 batting average with runners in scoring position. That leads the AL by a ton with the White Sox second at .284.”

    The stats for BA with RISP bodes well for the Tigers. Those averages tend to even out over the season. The Twins and White Sox will regress towards the mean, and if the Tigers hit like they have all season, then we have race on our hands.

  5. Walt:

    I hope you enjoy the game, but that (football) stadium really sucks. I went to see the Tigers play there back in early May with one of my die-hard Twins fan buds (who also hates it) just for old time sake, since this is the last year for the “Hump” (as it is known here amongst other things). That was the first (and last) time in about 10 years.

    Watch out for any richochets off the speakers in the ceiling.

    And let us know later if they turn the fans on to blow towards home when the Tigers are up 😉

  6. These are the stats for the 3 teams in late innings of close games. I didn’t look to see how the two terms are defined.

    Team G AB R H 2B3BHRRBI TB BB SO OBP SLG AVG
    Twins 28 341 36 93 13 2 9 36 137 28 67 .328 .402 .273
    WSox 17 181 15 44 8 0 6 15 70 21 43 .332 .387 .243
    Tigers 20 215 18 48 8 0 6 17 74 25 46 .306 .344 .223

    AL Ranking
    Twins 3 7 6 3
    WSox 13 6 8 7
    Tigers 12 10 10 11

    The Tigers have to be able to do better, and the Twins will come down to Earth. The White Sox

  7. The Twins shall be destroyed. Glen Perkins shall be destroyed. His feeble fastball shall pelt the outfield, and his sinker shall indeed sink — into the right and left field seats! The artificial turf shall be flooded with the tears of the Twins’ AAAA lineup, and the team will plead with Bud Selig to reconsider his earlier plan to contract the Twins’ franchise. By then the damage shall have already been done!

  8. At last the Tigers are playing a game in the real time zone. I don’t mind the Tigers playing at home, but something needs to be done about those oddball 6:05 PM starts. Really annoying, no time in between getting home from work and the game. I’m surprised the league lets them get away this. Even the Sox start games at normal times. Well, except for that 7-11 thing.

  9. Ah, Dave goes semi-biblical. I assume this is just a warm up for tomorrow’s prophecy. I suggest working in that line from Pulp Fiction about “going medieval,” if possible.

  10. Jeez, terrible AB by Cabrera. I guess he doesn’t like those fastballs right down the middle or inner third.

    Indians up 1-0 on the Sox, top 1. Gaving Floyd, easily the luckiest pitcher on the planet, going for the Sox. Seriously, he’s ridiculously lucky. Look at his BABIP, FIP, LD %, K:BB, GB:FB peripherals. He’s going to come crashing to earth and it’s going to be fun to watch.

  11. Gomez showed bunt before Galarraga even threw the first pitch, and was thrown out at first by Guillen easily. Rod is most displeased by Gomez’s arrogance.

  12. Something is really bothering Pudge, he was wincing after he blocked that pitch in the dirt.

  13. Nice job by Galarraga to limit the damage. 1-0 after 1, but somehow it feels like 5-0.

  14. That was so clutch to answer back.

    Sheff didn’t over swing, I think he’ll have more success until he gets in more of a rhythm.

  15. Oh jeez. Guillen makes a great play and Cabrera drops the ball.

    It’s irrelevant since the next batter hits into a dp.

  16. Cabrera pulled, Twins announcers speculating that he’s hurt. Clete Thomas pinch hits, so I would assume Thames takes over at first and Thomas to left.

  17. Well that sucks if Cabrera’s hurt, now there’s no point in him knowing how long his arms are. Tell Larish to hit the road he’s starting tomorrow…

  18. Thomas does more than Cabrera could have, nice double!

    We’re in business with Marcus at the plate and runners on 2nd and 3rd, 1 out. Gotta cash in here.

  19. Actually strangely enough Thames only has 17 RBI in 36 AB with RISP (.472 RBI/AB RISP avg). not one of the better numbers on the team…

  20. I think we’ll have a better time against Perkins than they’ll have against Battlestar. But that’s just my opinion.

  21. Oooh, AG threw inside twice to Mauer, and the umpire issued warnings to both sides. Gardenhire got pissed that he was warned (especially since Perkins pitches inside all the time and NEEDS that pitch), and was ejected for arguing about it with the ump in an aggressive fashion. Weird.

  22. Oooooh, this just got a little chippy. I like the feisty side of Armando.

    “don’t screw with my teammate”

  23. Cabrera looked awful tonight. I don’t know if he’s hurt or out of it, or what. The Polanco throw he barely moved. The Guillen throw he just missed. And he looked completely perplexed on a fastball down the middle.

  24. Sean, one was behind him, the other was way inside. Both benches were warned about throwing inside and Gardenhire got tossed.

  25. The Twins announcers are speculating the Galarraga may have been instructed (or on his own) to hit Mauer. Where they got that, I’m not sure.

  26. Galarraga is afraid to throw on the inner half now. Morneau is about to flip one to left field.

  27. Man, at least we’re not the Indians. They’re about to get blown out of the water in the third innings because they booted the ball all over the field.

    Cabrera left with a tight left hip flexor, according to the Twins announcers.

  28. I hate these two guys. M and M. Might and Magic.

    Mouth and Muscle. Mug and Missile. Mud and Mumble.

    Hate ’em.

  29. Nice call Bill

    Thomas makes an error on Morneau’s single sending him to second and Mauer home. 2-1 twins

  30. Not at all a satisfying effort tonight. They wasted a scoring chance, 3 errors, and a misplay by Raburn.

  31. I hate the Metrodome. The worst stuff always happens to us here. It’s amazing we ever won a series here, much less a game.

  32. Actually I take that back about Thames–last time I looked at these numbers there were several guys well over .500, and they have all dropped, leaving Thames about the best:

    RBI per AB with RISP: (not including today)

    Inge .571
    Clete .438
    Granderson .415
    Raburn .412 (despite batting .176)
    Cabrera .386
    Ordonez .370
    Guillen .366
    Polanco .359
    Pudge .323
    Renteria .318
    Sheffield .317

  33. I hate the twins more than any other franchise in sports. I really wish Bud’s idea to destroy the team in contraction would have followed through. They have disgraced the game by playing in that horrible dome.

  34. I’ll be happy with the Metrodome trip as long as we win one.

    One game.

    I have a feeling we’re going to get swept again though. Please don’t let it happen.

  35. Boy do the Tigers look awful. Contenders? Not tonight. And Galarraga is freaking me out. What is it with him and the Twins?

  36. I hate the twins more than any other franchise in sports. I really wish Bud’s idea to destroy the team in contraction would have followed through. They have disgraced the game by playing in that horrible dome.

    The irony of this is that the threat of contraction was to get the Twins a new stadium and get them out of the dome. The real problem is that they have a cheap-ass owner who won’t spend any of his own money.

  37. Another borderline pitch called a strike, touch to complain given the call that Galarraga got.

    The ump has to give that outside corner now because everyone’s afraid to pitch inside.

  38. Renteria ks, Tigers gone in 4th, 2-1 Twins. Yuk. Galarraga, throw some strikes again. Try to forget that you have no defense behind you.

  39. It would be nice to get about an 8 or 9 pitch inning here and then run that clown Perkins out next inning, at least work their bullpen a bit.

  40. The strike three to Kubel was 1.2 inches off the plate. The strike 3 to Granderson was 4.6 inches off the plate. Just sayin.

  41. Boys, it’s a long game and I’m actually encouraged at where we stand at this point. I just hope that Cabs is fine.

  42. Very clever of the Twins to have a lefty up in their rotation today with Ordonez, Inge, and now Cabrera out…

  43. Gameday has a real attitude with me tonight. Tell me when the Tigers start to wake up. I feel I’m wasting valuable statistical research time following this game.

  44. “Oh no! Inge’s bat is out of the lineup. We are so screwed.”

    I wouldn’t mind his glove in the lineup…and you do know who is best on the Tigers at knocking in runs with RISP, right? (rhymes with Binge…)

  45. Again, Mark, I’ve never seen a team do so much with bounces in their favor as this team. It NEVER seems to even out.

  46. Agree, David. It never seems to even out. I really don’t think I have selective memory, this team gets the vast majority of the breaks, at least against us.

  47. The only way to beat the Twins is to play the weird play like they do…I think we need one of those home runs right now, that takes the outfielder’s glove over the wall with it.

  48. The hitters look really confused tonight. You’d think it was Glavine in his prime on the mound.

  49. Leyland tried to get tossed and you could read Welke’s lips when he said “I’m not going to run you”

    I think it was a trap. Damn close though.

  50. Well gee the announcers just pronounced it’s absolutely a trap because clearly otherwise Raburn would have gotten ejected arguing it….yeah, or he knows they have nobody left on the bench !!

  51. I want a play at the plate where thames runs over mauer’s pretty little mug and he drops the ball…is that weird?

  52. Galarraga tonight… not especially good, but certainly not lucky. He got out of the 6th with only 1 run, not bad.

    Boy, talk about a Futility Vibe. 6 innings of this is enough for me. I will be stunned if they can pull this one out. I’m afraid I see a bullpen meltdown turning this into a laugher.

    (Filling in for Sky tonight.)

  53. Forty: “I want a play at the plate where thames runs over mauer’s pretty little mug and he drops the ball…is that weird?”

    No…well, besides the “pretty” part

  54. Forty: even better if it’s on an inside the park homer that bounces around the roof and baggy wall and whatever other crap that things bounce off in the Metrodumb

  55. Rod: “Santana not pitching all that well in the National League…”

    3.01 ERA, 3-1 K to BB ratio… Yeah, he’s just fallen off a cliff.

  56. Rod is not what you’d call a sabermetrician, but he will make a comment about lefties liking to hit low balls from time to time

  57. I don’t think “Jesse Crain” is a real name, it sounds too much like what a waitress/screenwriter would name a character in a lame screenplay she’s trying to write…

    So what’s his real name and what’s he trying to hide?

  58. I would like a Guillen-Hit-It-As-Hard-As-You-Can-Sac-Fly-That-Turns-Into-Three-Run-Homer right now please.

    Let’s all put our heads together and send Carlos some happy thoughts.

  59. And with clete “pujols” thomas on deck, he’s going to see something :). Heck scratch that. Lean into one carlos and let thomas clear em with the granny.

  60. So… I stepped away for dinner and it looks like I missed some events. Something about a trap? Some more Metrodome BS? Galarraga surviving?

    What gives?

  61. sorry ron, I don’t even have a clue what’s going on.

    But I can see the Tigers almost have the game tied, so I’ll say that some freak-a$$ thing will occur to get the Twins out of the 7th inning with their lead intact.

  62. Oh goodness, nice to see the sloppiness picks up right where it left off following my little break from the game.

  63. Fossum’s ERA+ the last 5 years:

    85
    69
    89
    86
    59

    That’s not including the 27 he’s posted so far this year. For those unfamiliar, ERA+ is just a player’s ERA relative to the league average. 100 is considered exactly league average, anything less means the player was worse than a league average pitcher.

  64. Coleman – it also means that Fossum and Leyland both get tossed and suspended.

    Very nice inning by Fossum. This team has some life again. If they don’t get this game, there is no shortage of stuff to point to.

  65. Well Leyland has tried twice to get tossed, but we don’t need any suspensions that’s for sure…all hope is not lost, rare is the inning through which we possum unscathed….

  66. Nice job by Fossum. Also, here’s his FIP ERA (ERA based on the stuff he can actually control: walks, strikeouts, home runs) the last 5 years:

    4.36
    5.78
    4.56
    5.32
    5.71

    So it appears he wasn’t unlcuky, just ineffective.

    Nice job so far today, though.

  67. BTW Billfer I wasn’t serious about the “intentional walk,” I was just trying to placate the bloodlust of Forty…

  68. Time for another rookie to come through since all our veterans are hurt!

    C’mon MJ!!

  69. ok, I admit I cheated. I hit ‘refresh’ and saw David’s comment. Since I’m watching on mlb.tv, there’s a little delay, so I was ready for Joyce’s triple.

    That’s bigtime. C’mon Curtis. HAVE TO put this ball in play.

  70. I agree Bilfer, but I also thought he coulda been rung up on that 2nd big hook.

    C’MON BULLPEN, LOCK THESE GUYS UP FOR ONCE.

  71. yeah. like that. atta boy Curtis!!

    OK Zumaya. You’re up, buddy. Shut ’em down, old school.

  72. We don’t want no extra innings…especially since our entire bench is Hollimon and Sardinha

  73. didn’t we rough up Guerrier earlier in the year too? Was it the first home game we won, scored some late runs and blew it open?

  74. Chickens hatching and all that, but this is another game that has a very 2006 feel to it, no?

  75. For a team that kicks the ball all over the field, that was a great play (and very lucky play too) by Harris.

  76. ok, nevermind. as I hit ‘submit’ they went to Zumaya.

    David, I feel waaaaaaay less than 50/50, I tell ya. Too many freaky things happen in this godforesaken dome. I won’t feel 50/50 about this one until sometime next week.

  77. Now that worked out for the Tigers, but I have to wonder about the pitch calling. They were calling for the fastball in the same spot every time. Zumaya did a nice job keeping the ball down, but remember when he use to elevate the heat and blow it by people?

  78. I think now is as good a time as any for that outfielder-catches-the-ball-but-drops-his-glove-over-the-fence-home-run

  79. billfer, the one curve he threw to Young was a bad one, very little bite and over the middle of the plate. Pudge falls in love with old #1 anyway, I can see him playing to Zumaya’s strength. He kept it down, they were trying to get the ground ball DP, I assume.

    Huge DP, that is totally the kind of thing that happens TO the Tigers in the dome, instead of for them. I will definitely take it.

  80. Bilfer, I was wondering the same thing. He just looks like a different pitcher…not necessarily bad, but not what he was 2 years ago.

  81. Zumaya’s back next inning…Jones isn’t warming up and Zumaya’s got the one-sleeve jacket on…

  82. Jones not warming up mihgt also explain why the constant stream of low fastballs from Zumaya. Pitch to contact to get the DP and conserve pitches so he can finish the 9th.

  83. “Breslow has a degree in molecular biophysics from Yale.”

    You KNOW that guy is doctoring the ball…

  84. I don’t feel good about Zumaya coming back out.

    This is a situation where you use your CLOSER.

  85. Hopefully Zumaya is feeling primed and confident. Show us you want to be the closer my man.

  86. “How many pitchers have these guys used?”

    It depends if you count the “Jesse Crain” guy who is pitching under a pseudonym

  87. Or look silly on two pitches out of the zone. Whatever feels right Marcus.

    Adam, are you actaully asking for Todd Jones? Man, I was not expecting to hear that any time soon.

  88. “If you have a home run and a golden sombrero, is that a good day or a bad day?”

    It’s amazing that Thames is hitting a home run every 10 ABs…however at times those other 9 ABs aren’t the prettiest…

  89. Oh dear God this scares the daylights out of me. I’m officially 0/0 on this game. No idea what’s going to happen, I just know it will be weird.

  90. And my Slingbox is actually working for a change… Time Warner must like me tonight… but at least I get to watch the bottom of the 9th!

    Eeeeeee… looks like the bounces stopped going our way!

  91. Good pitch by Zumaya to Gomez, just rotten Twins/Mterodome luck (again).

    See, even when they start to even out, the Twins get like 5-6 breaks in a row.

  92. How did I just know that Mauer was gonna get another AB that would count in this game. I hate this.

  93. wooh. more relief than excitement at my end. what a sloppy, ugly, gutty win. Can’t expect to play like we did early in this one and keep winning, but i’ll take it.

    by the way, i’m still only 60/40 on this game.

  94. Good move by Smoking Man to go out there and tell Zumaya hey don’t bother looking over your shoulder, I’m not pulling you, this one’s yours…more pressure maybe, but keeps him from losing focus.

  95. Lawdy Dawdy…it feels good to beat them twanks. That gives us 25 comeback wins this year, which is the best in the A.L. As much complaining as we do about clutchness, you gots to like that.

  96. Indians made a run but lost to the Sox, 9-7.

    Also, Sean, it looks like I called June right, Tigers at .500 by month end. Lucky me! For my next prediction (read: wild guess) I will say the Tigers will be within 2 games of first place by July 31.

  97. I liked how Mauer grabbed his nu*s as he settled in. He can now take his nu*s back to the clubhouse in a losing cause. Zoom is back.

  98. I didn’t dare log in …..I came in a 1-4 and the Tigers where chipping away I thought I would be the jinx……great win ugly but the big W is all that counts in this game…..another Toledo win..are they in first place counting all these wins up here……

  99. Nice win after some really crappy defense tonight. Leyland did a good job tonight reading his players.

  100. The reason I think this win streak will persist is that other teams (Cards, Rockies, and now Twins) are playing really good, sound baseball and still coming up short to our Tigers!!

    Nice use of the ‘pen by Leyland for the second straight game.

  101. I don’t believe it. I don’t know if there’s a trusted source that you guys haven’t tampered with, so I’ve got nowhere to turn.

    I’m going to assume that the Tigers lost and are now 41-41. .500 is still pretty good, and there’s always tomorrow.

    You guys were pretty convincing with all the YES!!! and OMG! and such, but next time you want to fool me, don’t get recklessly absurd about it and say things like “Good outing by Fossum.,” That’s what gave the hoax away.

    Mark in Chicago called for a 20-7 June – in May. The Tigers finished June 18-9, right? So… Mark was way off, not even close. Let us now mock this false prophet until he is too ashamed to any longer show his face here.

    And to think I believed in the man.

    Hey, rare form tonight, Coleman.

  102. That was one good game. I am glad that I didn’t wait and go tomorrow. We got decent seats in left center. The dome may suck, but we were pretty close to the field of play and had a good view of the game on a grad student’s budget.

    I didn’t notice any fans until walking out. The air about knocks you off your feet leaving. It was much worse than the silverdome, or at least my memory of it.

    We had a young boy of about eight or nine years of age next to us. He was very enthusiastic about the game. I thought at first that I was going to be annoyed by the too loud play by play that he was doing, but he kept me from having to look at the scoreboard for most of the game. The commentary stopped for about five minutes when the Tigers tied the game, then took the lead because the lad was crying. I felt a little bad for him. He bounced back quickly, and was back at it before the Twins were at bat though.

    It was a good overall experience.

  103. For those of you who follow outside of Detroit (and you may already know this):

    One of my favorite things to do during away games is pull up the MLB.com archived recordings (you need to have the subscription) and listen to our broadcast during critical moments in the game. It’s a great way to end the night, just pulled up the radio broadcast for the 7th, 8th & 9th.

    Damn the White Sox and their 5 game win streak…can’t wait for tomorrow.

  104. “Damn the White Sox and their 5 game win streak…can’t wait for tomorrow.”

    Cliff Lee’s 12th win tomorrow will look pretty good. Let’s get ’em Tribe…….(though I’d never would root for the Indians in ’08)

  105. lets keep it rolling….Todd Jones said it tonight on Tigers live ” if we take care of our own business it won’t matter what the other teams do..and if we don’t take care of our own business it won’t matter what other teams do” ….pretty good quote

  106. FROM THE INSTITUTE OF UNSOLICITED RESEARCH (IFUR)

    Hey look, more stats. Yes, there are 85 other measures of “wins created” and such, weighted for ballpark and weather, but I like my simple approach better.

    At baseball-reference, I examined the “Top 5 Plays” in terms of winner’s Win Probability Added (wWPA) for the first 81 games and totaled up the scores for all the Tigers and divided them by either the (season total) number of PA or batters faced. In a handful of instances where it was obvious that the fielder should get the credit or blame for a play rather than the pitcher listed, the fielder got the points. Even so, important defensive plays (mostly the great but sometimes the bad) are largely ignored by wWPA. Because it’s too hard to calculate what “would have” happened, I guess.

    Here are the Tigers ranked in terms of top play win contribution per PA or batter faced (think of it as THE OMNEY LIST):

    SARDINHA 2.125
    THAMES 1.650
    THOMAS 1.130
    SANTIAGO 1.106
    CABRERA .846
    ORDONEZ .821
    GUILLEN .809
    POLANCO .523
    INGE .439
    RODRIGUEZ .337
    GRANDERSON .303
    LARISH .273
    JOYCE .119
    RABURN .024
    JONES J. .022
    CLEVLEN 0
    HOLLIMON 0
    RENTERIA -.007
    SHEFFIELD -0.069

    I should be noted that scores for both Guillen and Renteria were dragged down some by defense, while the opposite was true for Rodriguez. Undoubtedly, Granderson’s score should have been boosted by defense, but wasn’t.

    In terms of aggregate points, the foursome of Thames, Ordonez, Cabrera, and Guillen racked up 63% of the position player total. Thames had an aggregate score similar to the other 3 in less than half the PA of any of them. Thames is omney!

    RAPADA .547
    BAZARDO 0
    GRILLI -.119
    GALARRAGA -.121
    BONDERMAN -.213
    JONES T.-.270
    BAUTISTA -.386
    LOPEZ -.423
    FOSSUM -.440
    ROGERS -.444
    VERLANDER -.448
    MINER -.509
    BONINE -.519
    DOLSI -.578
    BELTRAN -.583
    SEAY -.606
    ROBERTSON -.689
    WILLIS -.966
    ZUMAYA -2.050
    CRUCETA -2.232
    RODNEY -2.316

    A negative score per se for a pitcher doesn’t mean the same thing as it does for a position player, not as far as top plays go, anyway. In the 4-3 win over the Rockies, Dolsi came in with a 68% chance of a Tigers win and left with it at 86%. Dolsi + defense raised winning chances by 23%, in fact, but Tigers batting in the 7th reduced chances by 5%. But it took Dolsi 6 batters faced to get his 23%. By contrast, one swing by Sardinha got him 32% WPA and cost Rockies pitcher Herges the same.

    That pitching list is counterintuitive. Grilli more clutch than Dolsi? Come on. A pretty small sample size for Grilli plays a role. But even so, look into how they each did with runners on in tight games and it makes more sense. Dolsi can be brilliant, but he ain’t no clutch guy yet in terms of top play wWPA. That T. Jones is where he’s at makes perfect sense. He creates his own clutch situations and usually converts them. If he was a batter he’d be up there with Thames, or at least Thomas. Of course, if he was a batter, he’d always get behind 0-2 before reaching on an error or blooping a double over the third baseman’s head. Fossum coming in at #9 of 21 can only be explained by future generations who will understand what is now beyond our grasp.

    The rather wide separation between Robertson and the other 4 starters might say something about how he creates his own bad luck. Or is it just random that he blows it at relatively worse times to do so? Find out as sample sizes increase!

  107. I’ve been gone for like a week and I won’t lie … it’s been killing me to not read the sean c. and chris in d. comments and others I’m forgetting.

    I’m too tired to read this one. My computer took a dump on me but it’s getting a new hard drive (more music pirating, yay!) and some upgrades (yay computer nerd for a brother-in-law!) and should be good to go on wednesday or later. instead, i broke out the old backup PC that’s still running windows 98 since it can’t support anything better (boo!).

    My thoughts: the first 6 innings felt like i just had an 6 day bender with the hottest girl of my life only to wake up one day sober and see i’d spent all that time with Rosie O’Donnell.

    7th inning and beyond: felt like i just had a 6 day bender with the hottest girl of my life and woke up one day sober and see I’d spent all that time with Halle Berry and Jessica Alba and they both want to shower me with money even in their sobriety.

  108. I can’t tell what I think of the Sean C statistics, since my Univax was in the middle of processing them when it uncharacteristically dropped the calculations and jumped to the “Halle Berry and Jessica Alba” section. Twice. So I read Mike R’s post…I thought I enjoyed the game, but apparently there is much more enjoyment to be had in these games…

  109. Tigers get a bit of a break – We were scheduled to draw King Felix in the finale of the 4-game set with Seattle, but he just went on the DL.

  110. How ’bout them Tigers? Winning games by 1 run (5 of last 6 victories), gutsy at-bats by unheralded youngsters, coming from behind late in games, and solid relief in the late innings to nail it down.

    Yep, the boys are back in town 🙂

  111. Sean: Who is this Dolsi? I know of a Solid coming out of the bullpen, but Dolsi is a new one. Anyhoo, I’ll have to do some research but I think Thames is chasing the record for HR/hit ratio. He may end up with 53 base hits, with 40 of them being HR. Am I allowed to compare him to Dave Kingman yet, or are we still not comparing black guys to white guys? Please advise.

  112. Chris in Dallas:

    Well, if I recall, someone here once compared Brandon Inge to Brooks Robinson, so I think you’re safe.

  113. T Smith: I don’t follow. Though anyone who would compare Inge to Robinson has been huffing glue. Interestingly, my middle name is Brooks (my Dad was a fan of his. Oh, the humanity).

  114. …are we still not comparing black guys to white guys? Please advise.

    I was simply “advising” on the issue.

    And I would say huffing glue is a mild transgression relative to whatever someone was really on when drawing the comparison. Who knows the limits of the outragous and absurd? Next thing you know, someone is gonna try to tell me Brandon Inge isn’t black or something. Geez.

  115. Now I get it. I’m a little slow today. OK I’m a little slow every day, but today especially.

  116. I have to say I am beginning my day looking forward to game time.

    By the way we are 2-0 without Maggs. Obviously, the Tigers can trade him.

  117. Yeah Ordonez is worthless. Trade him for some bats and maybe a few rosin bags. Bum.

  118. By the way, I should note that the captain has turned off the ‘No Sarcasm’ sign, lest I draw the ire of the DTW faithful…

  119. OK I got my geek on. Since we just passed the midway point of the season, I decided to check out BP’s postseason odds. Still not good. The Tigers have a 14.48% chance of qualifying for the postseason at present. They played out this season a kajillion times on the nerd machine, and the Tigers have averaged roughly a 83-79 record. The AL Central champ has averaged 92 wins in those fake seasons. So obviously, the Tigers should probably find a way to win 50 more games this year if they know what’s good for them.

  120. Chris,

    I check that site after almost every win to see how we’re doing. You’re much better off using the PECOTA version of the report, which uses actual player projections (based on PECOTA, duh) to simulate the season. That gives the Tigers a 20% chance to make the postseason.

    Given the fact that a handful of Sox pitchers are posting ridiculously lucky ERAs (take a close look at Gavin Floyd’s BABIP, FIP, LD%, K:BB, GB:FB, etc. for a laugh) and will almost certainly regress to the mean, this is a more useful report.

    Still not good, but a 1 in 5 shot is better than 1 in 6.

  121. I was just compiling some stats on us bloggers here and noticed something rather interesting. When looking at entertainment value per word written (EVPW), Sean C. has the top 5 highest rated posts and the top 5 lowest rated posts. While this data is impressive, it is undoubtedly skewed by the fact that he alone accounts for 72% of all posts anyway. He also takes home the gold for the most Shakespearian post and also top prize for most post lag. Pessimism% value is dominated by Sky, while Dave BW just edges out the Optimism% lead with his notorious biblical prophecy posts. “The Twins shall be destroyed 777-0, which will sound the 7 trumpets, which shall bring the wrath of the 7 plagues upon all of Minnesota’s citizens.”

  122. And Ken earns an honorary PhD in Funk for championing Mr. Thames’ preferred nickname.

  123. Ken: You need to compile some VORP statistics. I’d hate to think that Sean has a higher VORP than I do.

  124. “And Ken earns an honorary PhD in Funk for championing Mr. Thames’ preferred nickname.”

    Thanks, Joel. We know that it’s at least preferred by us two, which is probably good for a GED in Funk.

    And Chris in Dallas…..you could never be replaced. Unless there is some other guy in Dallas named Chris.

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