Game 2011.9: Royals at Tigers

This afternoon the Tigers try to bounce back from their first home loss of the season in the rubber game of the series with the Royals.  The Royals send Luke Hochevar to the mound to oppose Rick Porcello

Speaking of Porcello, I happened to overhear one of those baseball science kind of conversations about the effect of temperature on pitching, in which someone was arguing more or less that cold weather is good for curve-ball pitchers, and hot weather is good for fastball pitchers (cold air is more dense than hot and therefore offers more resistance, which ball movement relies on).

So naturally I thought, well Porcello should have a good game tomorrow.  Then I saw the weather forecast for Detroit:  high of 76.  So much for that.

But since game time temperatures are recorded in the box scores, just for fun why not go ahead and see how Porcello did at varying temperatures last season.

Rick Porcello ERA 2010 by game time temperature:

4.14 – sub 70

5.43 – 70 – 79

5.96 – 80 plus

This is somewhat affected no doubt by his progression throughout the season: he struggled for a while, and came on strong at the end of the season, when it was naturally colder. But that begs the question whether or not that improvement was aided by the temperature.  In August he had 6 starts; the first 4 at 82, 80, 83, and 87 degrees, the last 2 at 74 and 75.  The first 4 he had a 6.95 ERA, the last 2 a 3.21 ERA, and he continued to improve into September.

Is it possible his improvement was aided in some way by the weather? Did he get better, or did it just get colder, or was it both? I wouldn’t try to form an opinion either way based on this little bit of data, but it does add an element that I hadn’t thought of before.

Then again, it’s possible that ALL pitchers do better the colder it is, and that’s all that’s showing up here, not anything specific to Porcello,  or to pitchers who rely on a sinker.

And that one is a little deep for the moment, so instead let’s look at today’s no-Magglio lineup (ankle soreness):

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Will Rhymes 2B
  3. Brennan Boesch RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera 1B
  5. Victor Martinez DH
  6. Ryan Raburn LF
  7. Jhonny Peralta SS
  8. Alex Avila C
  9. Brandon Inge 3B



    April 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    The Tigers can NOT afford to be giving away games ……. like they did yesterday …… by not fielding their best players in the starting line-up. If there were substitutions to be made …… it should be Rymes & Jackson! Again ……. Smokey has got to go!!

    • TBran in Troy

      April 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      No kidding. The first 2 in this line up are just silly and there is no reason for this other than “my gut tells me to do it.”

  2. Brenden

    April 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Eek…Not a good start to this game offensively. Okay, so is the offense going into a slump now after the pitching had an off first week? It would be nice if both were on the page. Might make this season go a little smoother.

  3. Brenden

    April 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Man, the Royals have made our pitchers pay for their walks that last couple days. Why can’t we do that?

  4. Coleman

    April 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Another Rayburn sighting…he did the same thing he did yesterday when Butler went home, he double-clutched and then sailed his throw high

    • Brenden

      April 10, 2011 at 1:46 pm

      Did he learn his double-clutching technique from Guillen?

      • Vince in MN

        April 10, 2011 at 4:04 pm

        They teach it in ST, along with showing the pitching staff how to throw the ball into right field on pickoff attempts.

  5. Coleman

    April 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Home Rhun!

    • Brenden

      April 10, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      It’s good to see his bat perk up in the last couple days. If only we can get everyone on the same page.

  6. Brenden

    April 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Ugh….This game is not looking good.

    • Coleman

      April 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      It’s turning into a bit of a Clown Show game


        April 10, 2011 at 2:53 pm

        I hope the circus dosn’t stay in town too long!

  7. Vince in MN

    April 10, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Jackson having trouble finding the strike zone apparently.


    April 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Nice to see the Wings finish the regular season and go into the playoffs on a win!

  9. Brenden

    April 10, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Bah, I can’t stand this Gonzalez guy….I swear he’s the ghost of Jason Grilli.

    • Coleman

      April 10, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      At least it isn’t Brad Thomas time yet

      • Coleman

        April 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm

        Now it is

  10. Kevin in Dallas

    April 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    What the heck did these guys do in Spring Training?

    • Coleman

      April 10, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      Clown lessons?

    • Brenden

      April 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      I’m starting to wonder that myself. It seems like they treat Spring Training the same way the Detroit Lions treat pre-season games.

      It’s obvious fielding wasn’t of very much importance, or pitching.

    • Vince in MN

      April 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm

      They come out of ST like this almost every year, at least since Leyland has managed.

  11. Brenden

    April 10, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Is our entire bullpen just full of clowns??? These guys are ridiculously bad.

  12. Jon L.

    April 10, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    The Tigers are certainly not impressive this season. Even though the Royals are improved this year, the Tigers should not be losing these games.

  13. Kevin in Dallas

    April 10, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Is anyone else a little uncomfortable with a) how dismissive Leyland is of the team’s early struggles, b) our team ERA and c) Leyland’s quote at the end of this article.


      April 10, 2011 at 11:21 pm

      It’s not just one problem but problems all over the place ………and if they are not rectified toots wheet ……. playoff aspirations are history. The core of the Tigers problems lie with Smokey’s handling of the team……..are people too blind to see that!

      • Vince in MN

        April 11, 2011 at 2:43 am

        If you are expecting Dombrowski to do something, don’t hold your breath, because DD and JL are like Siamese twins – where one goes, the other one follows. That leaves Illitch.

        • Coleman

          April 11, 2011 at 3:16 am

          I am Siamese and am slightly offended by this.

          OK, I’m not, but my cat is.

          …or it would be, if I had a cat.

    • Coleman

      April 10, 2011 at 11:22 pm

      Add to that c) it’s no big deal Ordonez has missed two starts with a sore ankle–you know, the surgically repaired ankle. The first time it was “you know how it is when it’s cold” and this time it’s “typical soreness.”

      • Andrew in Toronto

        April 11, 2011 at 10:44 am

        I’m more concerned about Kevin’s “c”. What is happening in that clubhouse?

        • Coleman

          April 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm

          It appears Austin Jackson is first in line.

    • Andrew in Toronto

      April 11, 2011 at 10:53 am

      I have mixed feelings about whether to panic or not.

      On one hand, sample sizes are small and this is only 9 games. On the other hand, I was saying the same thing in 2008 and look how that went.

      Then there are individual players. I’m worried, for example, about Jackson because the stats from last year showed he might not have been as good as his headline numbers indicated. But we shouldn’t be too quick to jump to conclusions. Just a few days ago I was ready to send Avila to the minors and look at him now.

  14. Stormin Norman$

    April 10, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    The current standings will be inversed at year’s end… hozzabot another game 162 with the twinkies?