Game 2013.38: Astros at Tigers

Detroit Tigers: 22-15, 1st Place (1.5 ahead of Cleveland)

Well, as I promised, here comes more about where the Tigers are after two “innings” of the 2013 season, or 2/9 of the season if you prefer.  It may be a bit unwieldy for a game post; perhaps you may wish to save it for a rainy evening in front of the fireplace with a glass of port (or is it brandy?) and your Alsatian (or is it an Irish Wolfhound?) by your side.



In a nutshell:  so far the starting pitching has been very good, the relief pitching not so much, and the overall pitching better than last season. Surprisingly though, the number show that the relief pitching has been better than last year (I’ll pause to let that sink in). And don’t bother trying to hit a home run against Detroit.

  • 2013 Runs per game: 3.81 (3rd)
  • 2012 Runs per game: 4.14 (5th)
  • 2013 ERA: 3.42 (1st)
  • 2012 ERA: 3.75 (3rd).

The Tigers have been incredibly consistent with about .4 unearned runs per game. The defensive efficiency this season (the percentage of balls in play converted to outs) is .678. Last season it was .678.

  • 2013 WHIP (Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched: 1.204 (3rd)
  • 2012 WHIP (Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched: 1.291 (8th)
  • 2013 HR/9 Innings: 0.5 (1st)
  • 2012 HR/9 Innings: 0.9 (1st)

I included this because it is something you rarely hear mentioned, but the Tigers have a long run of being difficult to take out of the park.  (Some of that, of course, is due to playing in park that is a bit home run unfriendly).

Splits by Starter/Reliever:

  • 2013 Starter ERA: 3.24 (1st)  2013 Reliever ERA: 3.76 (10th)
  • 2012 Starter ERA: 3.76 (2nd) 2012 Reliever ERA: 3.79 (10th)
  • 2013 Starter WHIP: 1.171 (3rd)  2013 Reliever WHIP: 1.273 (9th)
  • 2012 Starter WHIP: 1.280 (6th)  2012 Reliever WHIP: 1.315 (12th)

So yes, the reliever WHIP (which is a better measure for relievers than ERA) has dropped a little from last season. And when you look at the Walks part of the WHIP, you see the Tigers have given up the 4th most (they were 9th last season). When you add in that Tiger relievers lead the league in reliever strikeouts (they were 11th last season), you realize that the “H” part of the WHIP is not a problem. They are not getting hit, they are just walking too many. Either way, as a group they are performing a bit better than last season.



In a nutshell: the Tigers overall rate at or near the top in most hitting categories, notably in On Base Percentage. So far the big weakness in the lineup–just like last season–is at the DH spot.

  • 2013 Runs per Game: 5.42 (1st)
  • 2012 Runs per Game: 4.48 (6th)

If anything, these numbers just make me feel like last year’s team was a bit underperforming–with a Triple Crown winner in the lineup, they only managed 6th in runs per game?

  • 2013 OPS: .784 (3rd)
  • 2012 OPS: .757 (4th)

The interesting part of the OPS numbers is looking at which component the Tigers excel in:

  • 2013 On Base Percentage: .350 (1st)
  • 2012 On Base Percentage: .335 (2nd)

If you were to listen to the common chatter you would come away with a picture of the Tigers as an aggressive, free-swinging team that strikes out a lot, and never works pitchers for walks. But the numbers say:

  • 2013 Walks: 3rd most
  • 2012 Walks: 4th most
  • 2013 Strikeouts: 4th fewest
  • 2012 Strikeouts: 4th fewest

This is not to say they are not aggressive. When they aren’t walking they appear to be swinging away: their Pitches Per Plate Appearance has been among the lowest in the league (I’m not sure how that works with all the walks). Notably, it has gotten higher this season:

  • 2013 PPA: 3.86 (9th)
  • 2012 PPA: 3.75 (13th)

Some of that is due to Victor Martinez, who is seeing a career high, and team-leading 4.13 PPA. Hmm, perhaps Victor should start hacking away. At any rate the Tiger DH this year has an even worse OPS than last season:

  • 2013 DH OPS: .635 (12th) (Martinez .593)
  • 2012 DH OPS: .687 (12th)

Oh, and one last thing. Where have all the double-play balls gone?:

  • 2013 GIDP: 28 (10th)
  • 2012 GIDP: 156 (1st)


Well, all that aside, this afternoon the Tigers go for the sweep of the 7-game season series with the Houston Astros. Max Scherzer will take the broom to the mound for Detroit, while the Astros will try to confuse the Tigers with a Houston pitcher named Dallas.


Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Omar Infante responded to yesterday’s POPG nod with a 2-3 night. I know a good thing when I stumble upon it. It’s Omar leading off today as Player of the Pre-Game, he of the ridiculous and league-leading .426 home field batting average.

Today’s Tui-Avi-Torii Lineup:

  1. Infante, 2B
  2. Hunter, RF
  3. Cabrera, 3B
  4. Fielder, 1B
  5. Martinez, DH
  6. Peralta, SS
  7. Tuiasosopo, LF
  8. Pena, C
  9. Garcia, CF



  1. The Strategy Expert

    May 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Wow great post and breakdown of different stats!

    And glad to have Garcia back in the lineup, it’s nice to see him around to help take away playing time from Don Kelly, that’s bound to help out the offense even more. If Tui and Garcia can stick around then Kelly is just not going to have much of a chance. And that’s what we need to do more than anything right now, is figure out how to get the worst performers at the bottom of the scrap heap to move on and simply go away.

    • The Strategy Expert

      May 15, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      Well that was a quick contribution, thanks Avisail!

  2. judpma

    May 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks for the pre-game post….good stuff.

  3. judpma

    May 15, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Lets see Tui…Pena….Garcia……wow!

  4. Kevin in Dallas

    May 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Loved the research Coleman, great work.

  5. The Strategy Expert

    May 15, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Does anybody know where you can find real time updated player stats?

    Like if you go to Sportsline’s GameTracker, you can hover over Garcia and see that they updated his stats to show he is now 1-3 on the season after his first atbat today, but when you click the page his profile page doesn’t have those current stats updated despite them being on the preview window before you click (which of course only has a few stats displayed).

    • Smoking Loon

      May 15, 2013 at 9:56 pm Gameday is where you can find real-time updated stats. With MLB.TV you can get updated stats in the box score (any point during the game) as far as BA and ERA goes, and some other things depending on whether they are box score-worthy events. I’m not sure whether the At Bat app offers any superior real-time updated stats features.

      • The Strategy Expert

        May 15, 2013 at 11:27 pm

        Sweet thanks!

  6. StorminNorman

    May 15, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Tui needs some more PT…possibly at DH to give VMart a break…

  7. StorminNorman

    May 15, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    …bottom of the order has been carrying DET over the past few games…

  8. The Strategy Expert

    May 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Rod is seeing things again. There was NO communication auditory or physical body language from Infante on that play that would have helped Peralta. In fact it might have been possible to complete a double play if there was communication, so I have no idea what he’s talking about. Sometime he just flat out makes stuff up.

    • Smoking Loon

      May 16, 2013 at 12:31 am

      This is true. He’s country strong that way.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 16, 2013 at 12:36 am

        … up in that jet stream… [pitch type] that didn’t do a whole lot and just scalded/drilled/crushed/hit a seed… we’ve well documented that ____…

  9. Coleman

    May 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Don Kelly pinch-hitting for Tuiasosopo…um, OK.

    • The Strategy Expert

      May 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      Well it’s just a numbers game, and Don Kelly’s stats don’t describe what he’s really worth as a hitter in Leyland’s mind, because he believes Kelly is credible for a much better performance than what his current numbers happen to indicate.

      • Smoking Loon

        May 15, 2013 at 9:16 pm

        Not that Kelly can’t come through as a PH, but I wasn’t happy to see Tui pulled after 3 hits and considering what he’s done against RHP this season in one-third of his PA.

        • Smoking Loon

          May 15, 2013 at 9:59 pm

          Tui is also quite excellent first time up against relievers…

        • The Strategy Expert

          May 15, 2013 at 11:29 pm

          Yea I was thinking that myself. I hope Tui doesn’t start thinking about that and letting that cloud his head. But it’s a regular season game, we are in good shape, and you can’t pull a guy who is 3-3 and going for an epic moment like that. There’s just no logic whatsoever in a situation like that. Totally not cool and NOT good baseball. Plus the numbers don’t support it anyhow, but it’s heresy to snub him of the big opportunity.

  10. judpma

    May 15, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Hey Coke how is that rehab going???

  11. The Strategy Expert

    May 15, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    The pitcher was shaking his head after that last one because he was upset at himself and felt like he lost the game right there but got lucky. It was an exciting game with a dramatic finish at least. And no sour grapes from me since we didn’t deserve to win this one, so good for the Astros picking up another victory against a much tougher team. They do a pretty decent job of competing for the win.

  12. jud

    May 15, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Unfortunatly statistics mean nothing to Capt Mumbles….its all about…”he is due” probability….

    • The Strategy Expert

      May 15, 2013 at 4:39 pm

      Yeah our entire team is “due” to get more hits pretty much. I’ve been complaining for like 10 years to see the dues get paid for once!!

  13. Smoking Loon

    May 15, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    The bullpen loses another one. It’s dragging this team down. 3rd last inning loss for Coke, set up nicely by Alburquerque, who should never, ever come out for a second inning. Never. I would prefer that he no longer came out for a first. Striking out Chris Carter is perhaps not the most difficult thing to do.

    It’s funny about the 2013 Tigers bullpen stats. You’d think that maybe they’re OK, really quite good in some ways. Statistically, yes. Otherwise, no. I care little about W-L records for individual starters, but 3-7 for the bullpen as a whole says a little more. 7 of 12 in save opps. Hmmm.

    It’s the number one problem. Bigger than Martinez and Avila.

  14. Smoking Loon

    May 15, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Not that there’s a lot to complain about with the hitting, but the Tigers are batting .200 with the bases loaded. They’ve managed to bat in (not walk in) 19 runs in 43 PA. They’ve managed to bat in 16 runs (129 base-runners!) with actual base hits.

    Andy Dirks’s grand slam the other day made me happy. Seemed like it was a long time coming for the team to get such a hit. I have to admit that the bases loaded situation, even before I looked up the stats, has been causing trepidation based upon mere observation. Shouldn’t it be more of a cause for optimism?

    • Smoking Loon

      May 15, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      Cabrera-Fielder-Martinez with bases loaded: 16 PA, a single and a couple walks, 5 strikeouts.

  15. Smoking Loon

    May 16, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Sometimes pessimism is just disappointed optimism. But:

    The Tigers are 16-15 against teams not called the Houston Astros. There is something to prove in the upcoming series against the Rangers. Who are 21-13 against teams not called the Houston Astros.

  16. Pingback: Game 2013.39: Tigers at Rangers

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