Twins Series Coda

Tonight’s loss was a nice mix of all of the ingredients which drive us nuts about this team, served together as a big fat loss sundae. Poor pitching from a supposed ace, terrible base running, mediocre fielding, letting a bad team come from behind twice, and the icing on top – an awful bullpen performance.

So obviously, lots to gripe about.

But let’s get a few facts straight regarding the offense so we can make sure that our frustration is accurately placed.

1) Relative to the rest of the league, the Tigers are a tremendous hitting team. The Tigers’ team OPS of .761 trails only Colorado, and Colorado is boosted by an .894 home OPS (you read that right). The next closest AL team is the Blue Jays, with a team OPS of .739.  The Tigers have the third best road OPS in the majors at .742. Yes, OPS is down across the league, but relative to the league, the Tigers are one of the best hitting teams. Just to emphasize this point, the Tigers are second in the majors in runs scored, behind only LAA.

2) The Tigers do not give up on games. The club’s 41 come from behind victories is 2nd in the majors, and the team OPS is .742 when behind, 3rd in the majors.

3) R3L20 – the Tigers are middle of the pack, 11th in the majors, but the team OPS in that situation is .872. Scoring position – .777 OPS, good for 3rd in the majors. No one gets it done every time.

4) In extra innings the team OPS is .827, good for 7th in the majors.

Look, you can play around with the figures yourself. Objectively, it’s hard to complain about this offense. (We’re even middle of the pack in number of pitches taken.) Yes, we’re 2nd in the majors in GIDP, but that’s what happens when you’re on base so much. The reason why this team is mired in a division struggle despite an overwhelming abundance of talent does not rest with the offense.

The starting pitching is bad, and the bullpen is atrocious. The starters’ team ERA is middle of the pack in the AL, but when you consider the names (and salaries) in that rotation, middle of the pack is crippling. And then, for the least surprising stats I’ll post tonight, the bullpen is 3rd from the bottom in the AL in ERA, and dead last in the AL in BAA against and WHIP. I get that bullpens are fleeting and whimsical, and can be trusted as much as a con man, but I do believe that Ausmus has failed to effectively motivate and manage this pen, and this will be impossible to overcome in the coming weeks. Ausmus is somewhat limited by the arms on the roster, but other teams seem to make it work with random AAA call-up guy/free agent. That Jim Johnson is still pitching meaningful innings in the heat of a pennant race is nauseating.

Thus, with an off-day tomorrow, and the anticipation of the biggest series of the season looming over our keyboards tomorrow, I wanted to set the stage for some meaningful discussion. Feel free to challenge me on the offense thoughts above, but I think we’re wasting our time complaining about these hitters.

By the way, if Cabrera goes 4-5 in each of the remaining 10 games, he’ll probably win his 4th straight batting crown.

10 Comments

  1. Smoking Loon

    September 18, 2014 at 1:12 am

    Amen, brother.

  2. Angus

    September 18, 2014 at 10:10 am

    I would rather see some of the AAA players vie for a postseason roster spot than our usual array of less than average, we walk em, pitchers. Our only hope is that Anabel is back and our starting pitching starts to rectify itself. If not it may be a long cold winter for the Tigers.

  3. StorminNorman$

    September 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Kevin’s comments on the ‘state of DET pitching’ are spot-on… unfortunately.

    I hope JV proves me wrong, but I’d start Lobstein over JV on Friday – and push JV’s start to Monday in DET against CWS. I suspect KC will hit JV more so than DET will hit Vargas

    • T Smith

      September 18, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      The other thing you need to factor is that we will actually need to hit Vargas twice as much as KC will hit JV to have any shot at getting a win; after the 6th inning if the game is tied, or even if the Tigers are ahead by a run or two, advantage KC. We need to hit long and hard in innings 1-6 in all three of these games.

      • StorminNorman$

        September 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm

        good point…KC’s bullpen, especially their 7th, 8th & 9th inning guys are clearly superior to DET’s

  4. Kevin in Dallas

    September 18, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Just caught the Ron Washington press conference. He resigned b/c he stepped out of his marriage and “wasn’t true to his wife.” It’s a terrible act, but I’ve seen lesser men do worse and stick around. It’s a fascinating topic around here.

    He said something profound (as he’s apt to do).

    “If you respect the game of baseball, baseball will respect you.”

    • StorminNorman$

      September 18, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      i suspect there’s more to this story than infidelity …i had heard rumors of drug involvement…again

      i see where TEX beat OAK again today…

      • T Smith

        September 18, 2014 at 9:53 pm

        If Seattle and Oakland keep losing, the indians may just think they have a shot at the second wild card and decide their series with KC is worth playing (the Indians tend to beat up the Royals just like the TIgers do); I very much want the Indians to maintain a glimmer of hope when then the two teams meet next week… if they sweep the Royals (depending on the outcome of the Tigers/Royals series this weekend), they could quickly catch up to the Royals and get right back into the wild card race. In any case, that’s what they’re likely thinking…

        • StorminNorman$

          September 19, 2014 at 11:49 am

          good point… CLE could do DET another enormous favor by winning 3 or 4 of the remaining four games w/KC… 3 games (+1 suspended game, bottom of the 10th CLE w/a 2-run lead) will all be in CLE…then KC’s last 4 games at CWS

          CLE is a longshot for the 2nd WC, and to do so they’re probably going to have to win at least 9 of their remaining 10 games

  5. PHToy in HK

    September 19, 2014 at 2:47 am

    My only complaint about the offense is that they get shutout so often.