The 4th 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 4th inning report.

The 4th Inning is over.

Each. 18 games represent 1 inning of a baseball season. The Tigers record for the first 4 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
4:  11-7  85 -74     19- 8-268/350/416    8-4-113.0-3.27    3-3-5-5.17

In the 4th inning started out with a 1-5 record including a sweep at Oakland. The fortunes of the team changed on June 7th when a 5 run bottom of the 8th against Cleveland broke a 3-3 tie. Marcus Thames led off that inning with a solo homerun and Edgar Renteria later added big insurance with a Grand Slam. Including that night, the Tigers have won 10 out of 12 games and have moved to 3rd place in the division (6.5 games behind the White Sox). If the Tigers average 11 wins for the remaining 5 innings they will be at 89 wins, which may very well be enough to win the central.

The starting pitching has been terrific. Armando Galarraga withstood a strange demotion to the bullpen to come back and win 3 straight starts with a 2.08era in those starts. He is now being discussed as a possible ROTY candidate. Kenny Rogers is tapping the fountain of youth with a 1.24era in 4 starts (but only 1 win as he had no run support). Justin Verlander had a 1-2 record, but pitched to a 3.10era and only allowed 30 base runners in 29 innings. Nate Robertson was 2-1 with a 3.86era in 3 starts. Three other starters were used as the demoted Dontrelle Willis (2 starts), injured Jeremy Bonderman (1 start), and promoted Eddie Bonine (1 start) combined for a 1-1 record with an 8.66era allowing 36 base runners in 17.2 innings.

The Bullpen numbers are skewed by Casey Fossum’s horrible 5 appearances as well as Fernando Rodney and Francisco Cruceta each getting bombed in their only appearance. Those 3 pitchers combined for 0-1-24.55 in 3.2 innings. The rest of the bullpen combined for a 3.53 era. Todd Jones continues to be perfect in save opportunities (4/4 in this inning) despite giving up all kinds of base runners (12 in 7.1 innings). Bobby Seay lost a game and gave up 4 runs in 5 innings. Dolsi, Miner, Bautista, Lopez and Rapada were all solid with a combined 2-1-2.25 in 28 innings.

The Hitters continue to perform at a substandard pace based on their lifetime numbers. Marcus Thames is red hot (8-12-234/333/766). Guillen (1-11-328/416/478) and Polanco (0-10-380/413/451) have also been swinging a good bat. The new catching platoon of Inge and Pudge seems to be working as they combined for (2-5-292/387/446). Cabrera is showing signs of coming around to his usual self (2-12-294/355/471). Granderson (2-7-222/279/381), Magglio (1-8-227/320/303), and Renteria (1-7-228/328/281) all struggled in the 4th frame.

I stated that the panic button needed to be pushed after the 3rd inning, and after losing 5 of 6 to drop to 24-36, the panic button was fully engaged. Don’t let the 10 out of 12 fool you, the Tigers have very little margin of error for the rest of the season. They must win more than 60% of their contests for the rest of the year to have a shot of making post season.


  1. William

    June 20, 2008 at 8:55 am

    Minnesota had a similar start in 2006 (not quite as bad as 12 games under, but close) and made the playoffs.

    They had to play over .700 baseball in the last 100 games to do it, I think.

  2. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 20, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Thanks again, Sam.

    I was a little surprised by the hitting numbers. The Tigers are within a 3-run victory of outscoring their opponents in aggregate now. Due largely to pitching, I now see, although the great starting pitcher numbers were no surprise (but good news nonetheless).

  3. scotsw

    June 20, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Well, the good news is that they’re 6.5 games out — manageable if they are reasonably healthy, and a couple guys begin playing up to snuff (Granderson, Sheffield). And the return of Zumaya could be a real blessing. But I’m not sure Rodney will ever be consistently healthy, and they haven’t gotten their bullpen “finds” to step up as hoped. Bautista, Fossum, Cruceta have all been given a golden opportunity to shine and have not done it. It all comes back to the simple truth: There’s no replacement for real talent. And Zumaya is real talent. Will he hold up?

    The Tigers are overdue for a long stretch of general health from their boys. What’s happened so far has been… Well, it’s been pretty crappy luck.

    Where’s the “Zumaya Returns” thread?

  4. Chief Monday

    June 20, 2008 at 9:16 am

    The Tigers must also lose more than 40% of the games left to be eliminated. By looking at their schedule I don’t think that’s possible.

    I think the White Sox, have a far more difficult schedule for the rest of the season than the Tigers. (They haven’t had to play Boston yet and the Tigers won’t see Boston again until the playoffs. )

    Lets take a closer look-

    The Tigers have just 1 more game vs NY, 3 vs LAA, 3 vs STL, and 3 vs OAK. Downside is that we have 7 vs TB. The rest on the games are vs either .500 or sub .500 teams.
    That’s 17 very tough games ahead.

    The White Sox have 6 vs Cubs, 7 vs Oak, 3 vs TB, 7 vs Boston, 3 vs LAA, 4 vs NYY.
    That’s 30 very tough games they have ahead.

    The scheduling should be the difference maker. I could see the Tigers being 10 games ahead of the White Sox by seasons end. We have 9 more head to head games vs the ChiSox left too.

  5. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 20, 2008 at 9:18 am

    Dave BW told me that corny humor brings the Tigers good luck and insisted I post this. So with apologies to everyone else, I present A Pretty Good Team. It’s a tribute to a dear uncle of mine who loved baseball and simple jokes. He would have been 94 today, had he ever existed.


    CF Lee Doff
    2B Tim Overbun
    LF Thurston Fyrd
    IB Heath Gawnyard (slugger with a speech impediment)
    3B Drew Aypass
    DH Al Walk
    RF Hugh Runn
    C “Dub” Ulsteel
    SS Ron Erzkor


    Ben Shreider
    Chet Pinn
    Hugh Tellidy
    Ben Better


    SP Luke Outboy
    SP Diehl Zanono
    SP Juan Tuqueja
    SP Owen Toonow
    SP Chen Myo Seiki

    SP/RP Justin Case

    RP Lee Reever
    RP Kent Hittet
    RP Ted Cornerspain
    RP Cy Dreetard
    RP Ray Darchecker
    RP Irv Ussnotten

    The manager is Doug Howt. The pitching and hitting coaches, respectively, are Roone Zarmes and Case Winging. The team is owned by Manny Punz.

    Happy Friday.

  6. Mark in Chicago

    June 20, 2008 at 9:28 am

    The last sentence you said is probably the most important one, Chief. The Tigers and Sox play 9 more times, and that team beats us like a rented mule most days. It’s disgusting, really. That last sweep was fantastic, but if we can’t hold our own against the Sox, it doesn’t matter what the rest of the schedule looks like.

  7. Blake

    June 20, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Good point, even though they’ve won 10-12 it doesn’t mean they’re all the way back. First, they won’t win at the clip the rest of the season. Second, to stay in it, they really need to just play solid baseball consistently. The starting pitching is going to be crucial the rest of the season.

  8. Dave BW

    June 20, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Sean —

    *sheds a tear for your fictitious uncle*

  9. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 20, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Thanks so much, Dave. In this time of mock sadness for me and my imaginary family, I need all the false comfort I can find.

  10. Dave BW

    June 20, 2008 at 10:26 am

    “Downside is that we have 7 vs TB”

    Oh how things have changed.

  11. Kyle J

    June 20, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Nice breakdown of the schedule, Chief. Those 9 games vs. the pale hose loom large. A 6-3 record would go a long way toward closing the gap.

  12. Mith

    June 20, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Chief, you don’t think its possible to lose more than 40% of their remaining games? Considering that the Tigers have lost over 50% of their games so far this year(and over 40% in 2006, 2007, and 2008 combined), I’d definitely say its possible. Really, its likely at this point.

    And to say that the Tigers could finish 10 games of the White Sox is pretty ridiculous. I mean, anything could happen, but that one seems pretty far entrenched in the realm of fantasy. The White Sox are +97 in runs this year, I don’t think their 40-31 mark is a fluke. To say that the Tigers will outplay them by 16.5 games over the last 90 is really a stretch.

  13. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 20, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Mith, take your reason and your logic and all that high-falutin’ stuff elsewhere. We’re trying to support the team here.

  14. tiff

    June 20, 2008 at 11:42 am

    I won’t worry about what any other team is doing until August.

    And if early this year is the only extended slump we experience, then I think we are ahead of the game.

  15. Mith

    June 20, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Sorry! I’m rooting for the Tigers as much as anyone, but one 10 of 12 streak shouldn’t have us wildly assuming they’ve got the playoffs locked up!

    Certainly they can make the playoffs, but to do so probably will require .600+ baseball and them just barely squeaking in.

  16. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 20, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Seriously, Mith, I know what you mean. I’ve looked at it. I would be glad for a winning and (in a good way) interesting season that gave us all cause for optimism in 2009. Not gonna get too hung up on a playoff run. Yet.

    I’m with you on August, tiff.

  17. Ryan In Brooklyn

    June 20, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Sean C. – nice work there. But for the pun-challenged among us – Tim Overbun? Chet Pinn? Irv Ussnotten? I’m been saying these aloud for the last 20 minutes (wow – that’s kinda scary) and can’t figure them out.

    Oh, and if Dub Ulsteel doesn’t work out behind the plate, they could always call up Ben Dover 🙂

  18. scotsw

    June 20, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Don’t forget Cleveland.

  19. Chris in Dallas

    June 20, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Sean: What’s funny is that the Phillies have a pitching prospect named Josh Outman. You really can’t make this stuff up. I suppose that’s a lot better than a pitcher named Bob Walk. Or Homer Bailey. These are not so good.

  20. Chris in Dallas

    June 20, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    I don’t believe in the “they have to play at a ___ % clip from here on to make the playoffs” line of thinking. It’s not set in stone as to how many wins the AL Central winner will have. The Cardinals made it in with 83 in ’06, while it took the Twins 96 that same season. Also, the baseball season is one of constant ups and downs. The Tigers are 4 games under the .500 mark, but if you were to look at the way they’re playing at this date they certainly look like a much better team than that. The White Sox looked untouchable when they came to Detroit, having won 7 in a row, and before you could blink the Tigers went from 11 games out to 6. At the end of the day, all teams have good streaks and bad over 162 games. The hope is that the Tigers got their bad mojo out of their system early. They could play .700 ball over the balance of the season with the talent they have and I wouldn’t be surprised. Teams have done it. I’m not saying they will do that, but I anticipate that they’ll be in the race until the end.

  21. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 20, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Ryan, Ben Dover is retired and in the Hall of Fame, so I couldn’t use him, regrettably.

    I ended up using some things that are “looping puns.” I hate to give things away, but after wasting people’s time, maybe it’s the least I can do.

    Repeat these over and over and it get’s easier:

    Tim Overbun = bunt him over
    Chet Pinn = pinch hit (roughly)
    Irv Ussnotten = not nervous (a closer, the anti-Todd Jones in terms of how he makes us feel)

  22. Chief Monday

    June 20, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    “Don’t forget Cleveland.”

    The only thing I expect from Cleveland is a fire sale. I bet half of their pitchers are shipped out. CC, Byrd, Betencourt, Borowski, and maybe even Lee if they want to cash in on him.

  23. Ryan In Brooklyn

    June 20, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks for the assist!

    And I’m must have been thinking of Ben Dover, Jr. Seems all these guys have kids in the big leagues nowadays.

  24. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 20, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Yeah, young Ben is real chip off the old ______ , too. (Help me out with that one, someone.) Or if that doesn’t work, try “the _______ didn’t fall too far from the ______ there.

  25. Ryan In Brooklyn

    June 20, 2008 at 1:27 pm


  26. Ryan In Brooklyn

    June 20, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    as in “chip off the old…”

  27. T Smith

    June 20, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Anybody else hear rumors about A.J. Burnett being on the block?

    Just throwing this out there — how about a straight up trade, Jeremy Bonderman for A.J. Burnett, or more likely Bonderman plus a non-pitching prospect — say Larrish or someone at that level to sweeten the pot?

    Not saying I’m for or against it — just something interesting to think about

  28. Chris in Dallas

    June 20, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    I know this will sound silly given Bonderman’s recent health issues, but Burnett is absolutely too much of an injury concern to warrant interest. That and he appears to be kind of an a-hole. Of course, Sheffield seems that way sometimes too so take that with a shaker of salt. If I’m the Tigers, I’m holding out till the offseason and making a pitch (pun intended) to Carsten Charles Sabathia. Your 2010 starting rotation: Verlander-Sabathia-Bonderman-Robertson-Porcello. OK I’ll wake up now.

  29. Chris in Dallas

    June 20, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Oh I also forgot to mention that if the Jays deal Burnett, it will be for hitting, not pitching. They have a brutal offense. Incidentally, they just fired their manager and replaced him with Cito Gaston. Is it 1993?

  30. T Smith

    June 20, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Both have the same time left on their contracts at roughly the same cost — although Burnett can opt out, after 2009, I believe, so not sure how that would factor.

    Would love to get Sabathia — but how likely is that competing with the Yankees, Mets, and Red Sox? — or some team like the Giants who would be willing to overpay for Sabatha cuz there are no other payroll liabilities/risks?

    But let’s just say the Tigers are well poised to make a run at All-Star break. I really think they’ll be in the market for a starting pitcher — somehow. Just hope it’s not Freddy Garcia.

  31. Chris in Dallas

    June 20, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    I think the Giants have learned their lesson about giving lefties in their late 20’s rich contracts if you know what I mean. Anyway, why stop at Burnett? Maybe they can find out how to get Penny and Pavano too. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2003 Florida Marlins! I kid, I kid. Seriously, though, my point about the Jays stands. If they make any type of deal they’re going to want offense in return. When Matt Stairs is your leading HR hitter, you’ve got problems.

  32. greg

    June 20, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Some potential ‘on the block’ candidates:


    These are the most desirable that might be traded that I can think of. There are of course a ton of veteran scrubs(ie Garcia) that make you go ‘yuck’. I didn’t bother listing those.

    When Bedard is right, he’s 2nd to none, problem is, he just isn’t ‘right’ all that often.

  33. greg

    June 20, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    The Zito signing ranks among the worst of all time. And yes, I (and others)said that when they signed him. He was damaged goods from the beginning. It was written all over his peripherals.

  34. Chris in Dallas

    June 20, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Of course the one thing to remember about all of these “on the block” types, is that Detroit pretty much traded away all of their desirable prospect types this winter. Maybe they could sucker Toronto with a package centered around Thames for Burnett. That would be a hoodwinking.

  35. Ryan

    June 20, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    No Burnett!

    I think the Jays will end up just dumping his salary to be rid of him. I think any MLB-caliber player would be enough to get him if the acquiring team is willing to pick up the salary. Maybe Burnett for Dunn?

    And I don’t think there’s any way C.C. lasts until the offseason. I expect to see C.C. and Garko to the Yankees for Kennedy, Tabata, and Horne within the month.

  36. Chris in Dallas

    June 20, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Um, Ryan, I don’t think we can anticipate seeing Adam Dunn in a Jays uniform in this millenium. You see, he just doesn’t like playing baseball.

  37. Ryan

    June 20, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Yeah. My subtle humor is either too subtle or not humor enough.

    Didja see that the same GM just hired Cito Gaston as manager? Brilliant! Sparky Anderson to the Reds! The reanimated corpse of Walt Alston to the Dodgers! The head of Frank Chance to the Cubs, Futurama style! It’s all coming together…

    Completely random thought: Salaries/Length of contracts aside, would you trade Willis straight up for Zito?

  38. Chris in Dallas

    June 20, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Ah. Your humor escaped me on that one. You’ll have to forgive me – it is Friday afternoon and all. My brain has left the building. Anyhoo, Willis for Zito? Isn’t that like trading a turd sandwich for a crap taco? Or something. If I had to handicap it, I’d say over the next 5 years Willis will post better nubmers than Zito. By “better” I mean that he may be able to keep his ERA under 5. Dontrelle still seems to have the same stuff, he just has no idea where it’s going at the moment. Zito, on the other hand, is an airshow disaster.

  39. greg

    June 20, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Anyhoo, Willis for Zito? Isn’t that like trading a turd sandwich for a crap taco?


  40. Mark in Chicago

    June 20, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    The problem with any starting pitcher that’s available is that, well, they’re available for a reason. It seems like most of the guys available this year are injury risks, in particular the top 3 guys on Greg’s list. The best option is obviously Sabathia, and getting him would be great, but what pieces do we have to trade for him? Plus, Dombrowski absolutely HATES dealing within his own division. I put the odds of that deal at less than 1%. It’s only slightly higher to sign him as a free agent, you can bet the Yankees (with a ton of salary coming off the books next winter and a new stadium on the way) will offer huge money.

    Ryan, I would keep Willis. Zito’s problems aren’t mechanical, he has worse “stuff”, command and velocity than he used to. Willis you can maybe fix, the stuff is dfinitely there. When he threw strikes, he got people out.

  41. Ryan

    June 20, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    I would say crap taco >> turd sandwich. At least it’s crispy.

  42. Chris in Dallas

    June 20, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    I’d say the chances of the Tigers landing Sabathia are minimal as well, but it’s an interesting “what-if” at least. I never thought they’d trade Miller or Maybin let alone both, so they are capable of surprising me. They’d definitely have to get him as a free agent, though. They don’t have the pieces to trade, and even if they did I strongly doubt Shapiro or DD would make the deal.

  43. Chris in Dallas

    June 20, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Ugh. The Fu…I mean Freaking White Sox are beating the Cubs already. That’s kind of an interesting matchup managerially, though. Piniella vs. Guillen. That’s kind of like Vesuvius vs. Mt. St. Helens, no? Maybe they’ll have a base throwing contest during the 7th inning stretch. Or a curse off.

  44. Mark in Chicago

    June 20, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Chris, you were right the first time, but it *IS* a family site.

    No worries, Cubs are coming back in this one. The whole office around here is pretty unproductive, a ton of people went to the game. I live 6 blocks from Wrigley but unfortunately won’t be around to enjoy the festivities as I am driving to Michigan tonight.

    I just felt you all needed to know these things.

  45. Jerkwheat

    June 20, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Bautista DFA’d per Jason Beck

    Huzzah for the return of Zoom Zoom!

  46. Adam

    June 20, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Cubs came back to tie in the seventh with back to back jacks by Lee and Ramirez.

  47. Chris in Dallas

    June 20, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Jerkwheat: I was just wondering about that. Thanks for the info. On a side note, I advocate a moratorium on calling him “Zoom Zoom”. The guy is supposed to be a late inning intimidator. The first thing that that name brings to mind is a retarded car commercial. And the second thing is a kid’s show from the seventies. Not good. We need to saddle him with a name that makes him sound like a serial killer or medieval warlord or something. The Eviscerator works. Or the Disemboweler. Something like that. I’m open to suggestions.

  48. Jerkwheat

    June 20, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    We pride ourselves on ridiculous nicknames for Tigers players over at The Big Tilde – we shall get to work on something for the former Mr. Zoom Zoom.

  49. Ryan

    June 20, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    The Kegerator?

  50. Chris in Dallas

    June 20, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Jerkwheat: I see what you mean. Cletus the Slackjawed Backup works for me. Extra bonus points if you know Cletus from ‘The Simpsons’ last name. It’s at this point that I have to advocate my own creation of Freddy Solid. I’m going national with this thing.

  51. Chris in Dallas

    June 20, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Ryan: Kegerator has some value. It’s got a VORNN (Value Over Replacement Nick Name) of like 3.7. We’ll keep working on it until something sticks.

  52. Jerkwheat

    June 20, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Cletus and Brandine Spuckler are fine citizens of this town.

    I may or may not have a Cletus figure on my desk at work.

  53. jeremy

    June 20, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Thank you Cubbies, its about time the White Sox actually played a major league team.

  54. Chief Monday

    June 20, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    The Cubs win, the Cubs win, the Cubs win. Yes.

  55. Adam

    June 20, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Ramirez hits the tying homer and the walk-off homer.

    Good for him.

  56. Chris in Dallas

    June 20, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Good day to be AmRam. A Tigers win tonight and the deficit shrinks to 6. Hopefully Maddux pitches like a 40 something instead of like Greg Maddux and Bonine the Barbarian improves on his somewhat pedestrian debut.