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….)
MORE ON THE BULLPEN REPORT CARD THRU 60 GAMES
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
24.4% RUNS ALLOWED
33.7% REACHES/ADVANCES BUT NO RUNS ALLOWED
41.9% NOTHING BUT OUTS
75.6% NO DAMAGE
OPPOSING BULLPENS FACING THE TIGERS
279 pitched-in-inning appearances
24.7% RUNS ALLOWED
40.9% REACHES/ADVANCES BUT NO RUNS ALLOWED
34.4% NOTHING BUT OUTS
75.3% NO DAMAGE
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.
THE ALL-STAR TEAM
RULE 5 DRAFT PICK: Matt Tuiasosopo
DFA: Alex Avila, Jose Valverde, Jordan Baker