36-27, first place 5.5 GA, winning streak at one.
Commenter mcb brought up an interesting point about the importance of Torii Hunter’s play Monday night on the Salvador Perez 2-run triple. I agree that a conventional back-up of CF Avisail Garcia would have held Perez to a double. Two runs would have scored either way, but with Perez on 2B instead of 3B, the score might have stayed 2-2, which might have changed the complexion of the game later. However, in my view, Hunter was coming on hard and measuring his own play on the ball – no fault there – just before Garcia made the sudden dive and stab at it. There was no time and nothing else for Torii to do but what he did – steer clear and circle back for the ball Garcia missed. All might have gone better, perhaps, if Garcia had yielded to Hunter – who was coming toward a throw in if it dropped – to begin with.
I’m reminded of a couple plays earlier in the season. There was a flyball hit to deep LCF that fell between Andy Dirks and Austin Jackson, won the game for the Twins. That one just made it out there too fast and fell in no man’s land. No fault. Another time (can’t remember the opponent), Matt Tuiasosopo pulled away at the last moment on a flyball hit to LCF nearly to the fence, as Jackson was coming over hard for it himself. Tuiasosopo had a play on that one and gave way out of caution, as a collision must have seemed imminent. I blamed Jackson on that one. I know he can cover a lot of ground, but he was trespassing there.
WRAPPING UP OUR BULLPEN REPORT CARD THRU 60
*172 IP, 4-11 W-L, 3.82 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, .231 BAA, 0.83 HR/9, 9.6/3.9 K/BB-9, 13-21 SvO
205 pitched-in-inning appearances
24.4% RUNS ALLOWED (50 times)
33.7% REACHES/ADVANCES BUT NO RUNS ALLOWED (69 times)
41.9% NOTHING BUT OUTS (86 times)
75.6% NO DAMAGE (155 times)
OTHER BULLPENS (AL AVERAGE?) AGAINST THE TIGERS
279 pitched-in-inning appearances
24.7% RUNS ALLOWED (69 times)
40.9% REACHES/ADVANCES BUT NO RUNS ALLOWED (114 times)
34.4% NOTHING BUT OUTS (96 times)
75.3% NO DAMAGE (210 times)
KANSAS CITY ROYALS BULLPEN (A GOOD ONE)
*155 IP, 12-9 W-L, 2,79 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .225 BAA, 0.87 HR/9, 8.3/3.3 K/BB-9, 17-25 SvO
184 pitched-in-inning appearances
21.7% RUNS ALLOWED (40 times)
39.7% REACHES/ADVANCES BUT NO RUNS ALLOWED (73 times)
38.6% NOTHING BUT OUTS (71 times)
78.3% NO DAMAGE (144 times)
* Thru 62 games
Note the rather slim margin between average and good. Interesting.
Let’s abbreviate REACHES/ADVANCES as “H” and NOTHING BUT OUTS as “Z” and then rank Tigers relievers in the NO DAMAGE category (the RUNS ALLOWED ranking running exactly opposite, of course):
PORCELLO 100% (Z-100%) 2 Innings Pitched In
ORTEGA 87% (H-47%, Z-40%) 15 IPI
BENOIT 86% (H-41%, Z-45%) 29 IPI
SMYLY 85% (H-40%, Z-45%) 40 IPI
VALVERDE 81% (H-31%, Z-50%) 16 IPI
PUTKONEN 80% (H-40%, Z-40%) 10 IPI
COKE 72% (H-20%, Z-52%) 25 IPI
DOWNS 71% (H-21%, Z-50%) 28 IPI
ALBURQUERQUE 68% (H-42%, Z-26%) 19 IPI
REED 67% (H-67%) 3 IPI
DOTEL 57% (H-28%, Z-28%) 7 IPI
RONDON 50% (H-25%, Z-25%) 4 IPI
VILLAREAL 14% (H-14%) 7 IPI
So… there’s something to chew on. I’ll chew on it for a while myself, and be back with a different subject of statistical inquiry next time around.
Post-game to follow.
POST-GAME: Royals 3, Tigers 2 (10 innings). Jose Valverde is not a popular fellow. Let us not forget, however, that Smyly allowed Hosmer to reach. And then there are all those missed opportunities and a few crappy, crucial at bats from hitters who ought to know better. Several culprits in this one. Verlander was dominant, more so than in many a game where he tossed double-digit K’s (8 today). James Shields was quite good as well, and it was another duel between the two, but the Tigers managed to find a few chinks in Shields’s armor. The story of the game – before it fell apart – was the outstanding defense behind both pitchers. (Well, Peralta’s sailing throw that would have been an error but for a lucky bounce back doesn’t count – but he made a great stop on Butler’s grounder to begin the play). There was 1B Eric Hosmer on Tuiasosopo’s scorching liner. There was RF David Lough robbing Cabrera of a double with a lunge and tumble catch for an out. Santiago at 2B made two outstanding plays in the 3rd. Fielder snatching Elliot Johnson’s liner and getting the unassisted DP at 1B. The enviable range of SS Alcides Escobar on Don Kelly’s bid for an RBI single up the middle to get the 3rd out of the 8th. The Tigers had chipped in runs in the 1st (Fielder bloop scores Garcia) and 5th (back to back doubles by Tui and Pena), and did get 1 run from a fine game of small ball (3 sac bunts??). After 7, the mighty Justin seemed in line for his 9th win, bullpen willing. Before we beat on them, let’s mention the missed opportunities. Martinez GIDP with 2 on in the 1st. Pena at 3B, one out in the 5th, bupkus from Garcia and Hunter. Tuiasosopo K with 2 on in the 6th to end the threat and inning (not a bad AB, though). Pena on 2B, one out in the 7th, Garcia and Hunter AGAIN (punched out by Shields). 2 on and none out in the 8th, nothing from Martinez-Peralta-Kelly. Now it’s the bottom of the 9th, 2-0 Tigers. I was so happy to see Smyly start the inning. I shouldn’t have been, because Hosmer found his first pitch as predictable as I did. Failure against the one guy he was going to face – not good. Nervous time. Valverde in. It went well for a while. He was pitching pretty well. Got Butler to chase the high heat for a legitimate K this time. 2 outs! Hosmer takes 2B, though. Only Mr. 3 K’s (against Verlander) Lorenzo Cain to get. The count goes to 0-2. You don’t throw what Valverde did here. Cain ties it, 2-run homer to LF. Here’s where it gets really ugly. Next batter Lough, groundball, Miggy flat out drops the 3rd out. Coke comes in. Before a pitch is thrown, Coke goes to 1B – they’ve got Lough at 1B hung up! PRINCE now flat out drops the 3rd out, and Lough takes 2B. In the 10th, Hunter and Cabrera looked foolish against Greg Holland, and Fielder not much better. Against Coke (why?), the Royal small-balled their way to the inevitable two-out walkoff hit (RBI single by Hosmer). Tigers now 2-7 in extras. One of the most demoralizing losses of the season, an absolutely GUTLESS late-inning showing. On this hot and breezy day, some of the Tigers couldn’t stand it and left the kitchen early. If Leyland didn’t read them the Riot Act about this one, he must be saving the rage for later.
THE ALL-STAR TEAM
RULE 5 DRAFT PICK: James Shields, Miguel Tejada
DFA: Jose Valverde