Detroit Tigers, 69-60, 2nd place, 2.5 back, 2 back for WC spot.
“That’s just baseball,” said Tiger manager Jim Leyland about last night’s loss to the Royals, so we’ll just leave it at that.
Well, as soon as we tip our hat to Royals ace Bruce “Cy” Chen, who earned praise from Leyland: “Well, he was awful good,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “He made it look pretty easy, to be honest with you. He was good. He cuts the ball and changes it up, backdoor breaking ball. He really knows what he’s doing, obviously. He’s not overpowering, as anybody can see. He pitched a great game.”
OK then. As we previously mentioned here on this very website, the Tiger offense is either feast or famine; last night it was famine, and they lost, since they don’t do the kind of things to scrape out a run in low scoring games (when they lose “feast” games like the Tuesday game, that spells trouble).
One of these little things is managing a simple fly ball to the outfield with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 out (R3L2O). They had 2 chances last night: 2 strikeouts. Are they really as bad at this as they seem?
I like to measure this by runs per plate appearance (RPA), which tilts a tiny bit in favor of slugging teams, in that it is higher for teams who sometimes hit the 3-run homer instead of the sac fly. The average AL RPA for R3L2O is .663, or approximately 2 runs every 3 PA.
The Tiger RPA is only .613. The White Sox RPA, by contrast, is .730. That means if the Tigers had been as good with R3L2O as the White Sox, they would have plated an additional 32 runs so far this season, based on their 274 plate appearances with a runner on 3rd and less than 2 out. Think those runs would have been helpful this year?
Well, today is another day, another chance to feast. And the White Sox already lost.
Stat of the Day: Tiger record in 1-run games since the break: 3-7.
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Cannot be revealed. He agreed to POPG on condition of anonymity.
Todays Laird of the Rings Lineup: