Game 2013.63: Tigers at Royals

35-27, first place 5.5 GA, losing streak at 1.

Evan Reed is up, Jose Alvarez is down, and I think Jose Ortega is still down, though I’m not sure, and I’m not even sure if he was down to begin with. Losing track, too tired to count. (That’s funny, considering what follows….)


I really didn’t offer much explanation, did I? Some is warranted.

Innings pitched in is the basis for all of that. It’s not the same as innings pitched. Drew Smyly had pitched in 40 different innings. That’s 40 opportunities for results, the basis for all the percentages.

I went in thinking that there were four basic Bullpen Appearance Outcomes: 1. Nothing but outs. 2. Reaches/advances allowed but no runs. 3. Runs allowed (who they are charged to is not a consideration; allowing them is the sin). 4. Reaches/advances allowed that later scored off someone else. I now realize that this last creates two appearances where there was in fact only one; it’s redundant and irrelevant, and should be corrected for (not a major adjustment). My figures here and when I sum this all up tomorrow will reflect that correction.

Anyway, looking at Mr. Smyly, we see that his results from 40 innings pitched in are: 18 times nothing but outs, 16 times reaches/advances but no runs allowed (by him), and 6 times runs allowed by him (not necessarily 6 runs in total). So runs score on him 15% of the time, and don’t 85% of the time. Additionally, he’s lights out a full 45% of the time, though this does not speak to whether he got one out or three. In all, his comparative report card score will indicate some things that were obvious and some that were not, and it’s the clues provided by the latter I find interesting.

I mentioned that it was difficult to measure how the Tigers bullpen as a whole stacks up against others without a standard. The next step to that end is to look at how other bullpens have performed against the Tigers. We will assume that after 60 games, the Tigers have now, overall, seen the opposing “average MLB (mostly AL) bullpen.” We’ll leave aside the fact that the Tigers are an above-average hitting team that is far below average in the later innings and consider them average as well.


205 pitched-in-inning appearances


279 pitched-in-inning appearances

Superficially, it would appear that the Tigers bullpen might actually be average or, in some ways, better than average. Huh. Then again, they don’t have to face the Tigers hitters, either. Note the difference in pitched-in-inning appearances. Some clues there.

The next step will be to compare the Tigers bullpen with a good one, one the Tigers bullpen might aspire to emulate, perhaps. Let’s see what that comparison looks like, and what it does to our provisional understanding of “average.” A good place to start might be with…

The Kansas City Royals.

POST-GAME: Tigers 3, Royals 2. Make no mistake. This one was a gift from home plate ump Jordan Baker. Almost makes up for the 8-6 loss to Toronto where Dana DeMuth was calling bottom of the 9th balls strikes in the driving rain just to get the game in, costing the Tigers their last slim chance. Baker’s strike zone was inconsistent all game, though not biased. Scherzer started out pitching the 1st inning like a drowning man, but recovered. Wade Davis pitched well enough to let the Tigers beat themselves, I suppose. Suddenly hot CF Kelly started the scoring with an RBI single in the 2nd, but a bigger rally was snuffed by an egregiously bad send the runner home call by Brookens (and he’d been so good lately). Infante was a dead duck at home plate. In the 5th, a hustling Dirks just beat the DP relay throw from Alcides Escobar to IB to score Infante and make it 2-0 Tigers. Max had a little blip in the 5th, allowing a leadoff HR (first MLB) to David Lough and then an RBI single to Escobar to even the score at 2-2, but Dirks saved further damage with a monster throw to nail Escobar at 2B with help from Infante (close play). Things got interesting in the 7th, with pinch-hit appearances from Garcia and Tuiasosopo setting up a remarkable load the bases after two outs rally. Against a vaunted bullpen. Ending in a Hunter swinging strikeout. Remarkably, the Tigers didn’t nod off after this. The 8th started with a Cabrera HBP, and he scored the go-ahead run on a Martinez sac fly. (The Tigers even threatened more in the 9th. Go figure.) Benoit pitched a good ol’ Benoit 8th – one baserunner, three outs. 3-2 Tigers, Royals up in the bottom of the 9th against closer Valverde. Who was having a hard time throwing strikes. Tanking. To the point where Coke was warming up. Oh, it was only a single, a PR, a stolen base, no outs, Tiger Killer Billy Butler up, and Valverde not throwing strikes. The count went to 3-2 on Butler. There was a foul ball or two. Then Valverde threw ball four inside. Clearly inside. Time to reach for the Coke. Wait. Baker called it strike three. Butler argues, gets ejected. Understandishable.  A couple uneventful outs, Valverde gets the save, the Tigers get the win. Ha ha. Oh man, we’d be screaming bloody murder about this.


C Perez
1B Hosmer
2B Infante
SS Escobar
3B Cabrera
LF Dirks
CF Kelly
RF Lough
DH Martinez
P Scherzer

RULE 5 DRAFT PICK: Matt Tuiasosopo

DFA: Alex Avila, Jose Valverde, Jordan Baker

26 thoughts on “Game 2013.63: Tigers at Royals”

  1. more stats: Tiger ON THE ROAD BAT Ave

    Cabrera .367
    Pena .333
    Hunter .311
    Peralta .302
    Fielder .273
    Tui .256
    Garcia .261
    Dirks ..236
    Infante .234
    Martinez .222
    Santiago .174
    Avila .136
    Kelly .133

    1. I’m actually surprised so many are doing rather well on the road. Thought it would look worse.

  2. why is it this team is so good at home and on the road they are a sub par team currently
    they are 13-17 on the road 4 games under .500 seems to be the same thing every season. not playing like a team that is favored to go to the world series. No championships here until they figure it out. GOOD teams win on the road

  3. Kansas City is now tied with Cleveland for 2nd place, and may end up being the Central team with the best chance at making a run at the Tigers.

    1. Current rosters considered, KC is about the only ALC that has a shot… but I think a slim one.

      i’m still waiting for DET to go on a tear and leave the rest of the division in the dust… now when and if that’ll happen remains to be seen… maybe Jackson’s return will be the catalyst?

      1. took nearly 5 months in 2011, didn’t it?…wasn’t it right before Labor Day when the Tigers won 12-13 in a row and went from 3-4 games up to basically clinching in a matter of just over two weeks?

        not that I am endorsing that approach, mind you:)

  4. Tonight’s Lineup:
    1. Dirks, LF
    2. Hunter, RF
    3. Cabrera, 3B
    4. Fielder, 1B
    5. Martinez, DH
    6. Peralta, SS
    7. Avila, C
    8. Infante, 2B
    9. Kelly, CF

        1. Yeah, sometimes I wonder about that. When a week goes by with no Tui… well, I don’t get it. What does the guy have to do?

  5. The Tiger’s offense is so much better than 2012’s team. Just compare runs scored after 60 games. Like most good teams they will sputter from-time-to-time but in long run this will be a memorable season. Great analysis Loon! Regards from Selfoss, Iceland.

      1. Thank you, Only Tiger Fan In Assorted Scandinavian Countries.

        I am guessing that Only Tiger Fan is traveling on business or on vacation, Kevin.

    1. Good job kid. Now take the load off your feet and you and your .500 OBP go sit down for another week.

      1. Maybe it’s the long hair. Or maybe the Donkey tells malicious lies about him when he and Jim are taking a sauna.

  6. just had a ‘moment of Zen watching a ‘live look in’ on MLB network – CWS leading 5-4 with 2 outs, and CWS reliever/Reed had a 1-2 count on Bautista and Hawk was starting to crow, when Bautista hit a high fly in the LF seats for a game tying HR, all Hawk could say was “get foul, get foul… and Bautista has tied the game”

    1. That guy is reason enough all by himself to hate the White Sox. I would rather listen to Craig Monroe (or the late Ron Santo) for 10 hours than Hawk Harrelson for 10 minutes. Well, almost.

    1. Yes. Also if Gatsby has stopped obsessing about Daisy, he and Jordan Baker would have been a good match.

  7. It is so irritating watching Valverde give up the inevitable automatic stolen base, especially in a 1-run game.

    1. The automatic home run has now been added to his features, without sacrificing the automatic SB. Technology. Insecurity Pack 2. I can hardly keep up with the Valverde OS updates any more.

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