Game 2014.19: Tigers 7, White Sox 4

YOU SAID IT

StorminNorman$ April 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Scherzer w/96 pitches through 5… with DET’s bullpen and a 2-1 game… concern is inevitable

A White Sox offense that just won’t leave us alone deserves a dose of Max Scherzer. Detroit gets to face a lefty in Jose Quintana, and I think that’s good news. The main thing is that they get to bat again and might score some runs, and it might not take so many this time, especially if Max can go (9? Please? Please?), oh, let’s say 8 innings.

How demoralizing would not salvaging this series be? Well, 10-9 sounds a bit ugly, but some good things have happened last three games, more than you’d think in dropping two of them.

Dan and Jim brought up the interesting statistic of how the Tigers have been badly outscored in 1st and 9th innings but own the rest. So I’ll throw a few team stats out there today.

Tigers starters are sporting a seriously impressive 2.96 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, nearly the best in the AL. And we know that they are the best. The opposition is batting .240 against them, good for a fairly high rank there. Few teams are getting 6+ IP on average from starters. It might surprise you to know that the Tigers are.

Things are a bit different for the bullpen. Worst ERA at 5.60 (!), WHIP ugly at 1.36 but middle of the pack as far as the AL goes. Batting average against is a clearly unacceptable .271 –  a starter can get away with that, but not an entire pen. And they are more prone to the long ball than even the Orioles or Astros, their miserable companions at the league bottom.

Interesting is how the staff as a whole is handling LHB (.223) vs. RHB (.285).

Detroit is climbing the ladder in Defensive Efficiency (10th), and they are 4th in double plays! We’re only at 18 games, but still, I think you would have to go back a number of years to find the Tigers high in the DP rankings. Maybe even at 18 games.

You might also have go back some to find the Tigers above average in the team Power/Speed Number (see bbref team stats), but that’s what they are right now. For a team not scoring a lot of runs per game, the Tigers are (mostly) quite the above-average offense. They strike out only 17% of the time and put the ball in play 71% of the time, and in case you were wondering, those are very good numbers.

But let’s try to find some awful stats, because those are our favorites. Well…

* Tigers have a .700 OPS against RHP (.842 against lefties)

* Detroit’s Sunday OPS (3 games) is .499 (1 HR in 93 AB)

* Tigers are batting .172 in the 1st inning

* Hey, how’s that 1st inning pitching? 7.00 ERA, 1.94 WHIP

* Hey, how’s that 9th inning pitching? 8.35 ERA, 1.80 WHIP

* Friday is not a good day to be a Detroit pitcher – 21 ER in 3 games,  7.27 / 1.58 / .306

I’ll leave it to you to find some unusually positive stats, because there are plenty of those out there, too. Probably more of them. Remember, 10-8 = 90-72. The way the AL Central is shaking out, that could be a winner.

POSTGAME: I got to see this Sox-Tigers game. What did I see? A Tigers victory that survived the worst bullpen in MLB and the two worst defensive plays all season, Torii Hunter’s three-base error (scored as a triple for the unstoppable Dayan Viciedo) and Bryan Holaday’s physically and mentally misguided throw into (eventually) CF that made it 5-4 (and his 9th inning crap throw to 2B wasn’t better). The only thing dumber was clumsy Jose Abreu interfering with Holaday for Nathan’s gift third out. Maybe the White Sox weren’t at their best, either. Four straight days in Detroit might be the equivalent of not eating your Wheaties, I don’t know. For Chicago White Sox-type people, I mean, of course. Nice area.

Max Scherzer went a good 6 and could have gone 8, pitch count be damned. But no. The Tigers did as much as they had to against a pretty good Jose Quintana, and more still against the Sox bullpen. All drama should have ended at 5-2, when Miguel Cabrera’s deceptively hard-hit grounder past Alexei Ramirez (quite a show at SS today, tip of the cap) drove in what turned out to be the winning runs. But then Ausmus had to go and take out Max, who was just fine.

That bullpen. Nothing to like. Ol’ One-Pitch Al came in for the 7th, no confidence but no runs. Joba Chamberlain, then, and between him getting slapped around and the defense getting indefensible, it looked lost. Late inning offense that included smartness on the bases saved the day. (I like 3B coach Dave Clark’s style. I don’t think I’d like to miss or run through any of his signs. He looks kinda big and mean. Closer Joe Nathan just looks kinda big and lost.)

In between Miggy’s big single and the sky falling, there was a clutch 8th inning that saw Holaday redeem himself with a solidly hit RBI single, and when Rajai Davis’s second line shot to deep LF on the day (the first had left the park) was good for a double and a 7-4 lead, our comfort level going into the 9th improved to one of mere agonizing doubts and heart palpitations.

The White Sox struck out 15 times today, 10 of those belonging to Max. Nary an authentic double play was turned by either side, which seems odd in a game with 26 baserunners and 12 groundball outs. Hmmm.

I went without audio, but I take it that Danny Worth was awarded the IF hit by virtue of the transfer rule, whereby the ball coming out of  1B Abreu’s glove 10 minutes after Worth was called out made him safe. That silliness is going to go against us one of these times. Oh, I guess it already did. Romine. Remember?

Tigers are hitting again (forget the bullpen), Tigers are 11-8 (forget the bullpen), Tigers hit the road with a win at their backs (forget the bullpen). There’s really no reason to dwell on the bullpen. Exhale.

34 Comments

  1. Vince in MN

    April 24, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Has baseball finally reached parity. 19 of 30 teams are between +2 and -2 over .500 today.

    • Vince in MN

      April 24, 2014 at 12:49 am

      over/under rather.

      • Smoking Loon

        April 24, 2014 at 11:28 pm

        I would wager that this is rather normal for the standings through 22 games or so. Or at least less of a deviation than it seems.

        • Smoking Loon

          April 24, 2014 at 11:31 pm

          By the way, I learned how to calculate standard deviation recently, but I’ve forgotten it already. So don’t ask.

  2. jud

    April 24, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    I know Asmus is a rookie…and a college grad…..but I am hoping that he gets a lot smarter than he has been so far!!! Ex: “I let AA swing 3-0 because he has the ability to hit one out!” Borders on 99% luck and 1% probability!

    • Smoking Loon

      April 24, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      Avila hit it hard.

  3. jud

    April 24, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Every team in baseball pitches Dunn above the belt. Thats why he usually hits .215..but not the Tigers…we will show him!….stupid!

  4. StorminNorman$

    April 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Scherzer w/96 pitches through 5… with DET’s bullpen and a 2-1 game… concern is inevitable

    • Coleman

      April 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      Rajai says Relax.

      • Coleman

        April 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm

        Torii begs to differ.

        • Smoking Loon

          April 24, 2014 at 11:31 pm

          He he.

  5. jud

    April 24, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    I know Hunters D skills are declining but that was ridiculous. That was a routine fly ball to right ..wow!

    • Coleman

      April 24, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      Can o’ corn.

  6. jud

    April 24, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Ruled a triple?????…Pleeeeease! That was brutal!

  7. jud

    April 24, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    MAX OUT!…Let the real game begin!!

  8. jud

    April 24, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Kinsler joins the famous wild swinging Tigers club!..terrible pitch!

  9. jud

    April 24, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    And Miggy is coming around..!

    • Coleman

      April 24, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      So are the Chicago base runners.

  10. Coleman

    April 24, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Hunter turned a pop out into a triple; Kinsler turned a double-play into a force out; Holaday turned a stolen base into a run. Yes, we have defensive problems.

  11. jud

    April 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    And it just goes on and on and on!…

  12. Coleman

    April 24, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Good job by Chamberlain actually keeping his head with the clown show going on.

  13. jud

    April 24, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Holaday..atta boy…two hits and a rbi will get you back on the bench tomorrow but great job today!

  14. Coleman

    April 24, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Rajai Davis has been a pleasant surprise so far this season. Who says he can’t hit right-handers.

  15. jud

    April 24, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    How about Dave Clark as a 3RD BBase coach..been right on so far. All I could think of on the Davis double was Brookens would have gotten Worth thrown out at home by 20 feet!

  16. Coleman

    April 24, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Now that’s a strange way to end a game.

    • Smoking Loon

      April 24, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      You’re telling me. Watching with no audio, I was stumped that all of a sudden Holaday, who’d just made another horrid throw to 2B and should have been as red-faced as he was the first time, was all happy and running out to congratulate Nathan. Talk about confusion.

  17. jud

    April 24, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Good split considering we should of had 3 of the 4

    • Smoking Loon

      April 24, 2014 at 11:05 pm

      I suppose. Coulda been worse. But they’re not winning for me, and they’re going to hear about it from me in the clubhouse next time around.

  18. Kevin in Dallas

    April 24, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Loved the intro today Smoking Loon.

    • Smoking Loon

      April 24, 2014 at 11:00 pm

      Thank you kindly, Kevin. Just ramblin.’

  19. jud

    April 25, 2014 at 2:30 am

    Twins next

  20. PNI Online

    April 25, 2014 at 9:01 am

    like the way you shared the article!!!!

  21. Vince in MN

    April 25, 2014 at 10:04 am

  22. jud

    April 25, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    When I pitched in college a mixture of sunflowers and spit gave me a nice “tack” on the ball. You had to step off of the pitching mound to go to your mouth legally and then just pretend to wipe your fingers on your uni…It didn’t load the ball up with any substance but really gave me a way better grip. I never considered it cheating because I wasn’t loading the ball. Especially useful on really cold days the ball is really slippery. The “seedjuice” worked wonders!!!…just sayin!