Game 2015.44: Astros at Tigers

Good win last night. Check that, great win. The Tigers got another outstanding start from Simon – 7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 ER, JD Martinez hit a 3 run bomb (how many of those have there been this year?, and the bullpen went 6 up and 6 down. JD Martinez is now hitting .405 over his last 10 games with 15 hits, 2 HR and 5 RBI. Whatever funk he was in, he’s out.

So the Tigers are now in a great position to win a long series against the hottest team in the AL. Still got two games to go, but feels good for now.

Lobstein draws a rookie call-up, Lance McCullers today. McCullers made his big league debut on Monday striking in 4 2/3 while allowing 1 ER. Traditionally, the Tigers haven’t seemed to fare well against rookie call-up guy, and Lobstein has been struggling, so today could be tough.

I saw some chatter on here regarding the Tigers hitting in key situations. I want to make sure that we’re all on the same page here. The Tigers are one of the best offensive teams in the Majors. They have the Majors’ 2nd best OPS (.774) and 2nd best avg (.280). With RISP – the team OPS goes up to .812, 7th in the Majors. In R3L20 situations their OPS jumps to .873, which is only 12th in the Majors, but I’ll take .873 all day long. Look, baseball hitters are going to fail the VAST majority of the time. Even if we’re adding OBP + productive outs, there will still be very few guys who get the job done more than 1/2 the time. 95%+ of hitters are going to fail more than half of the time. This is simply the game. We can’t get worked up of we fail to score in every scoring situation. The boys are doing just fine.

Now what is curious is that the Tigers have the best OBP in the Majors (.346), the 2nd best OPS (see above), the third most ABs in the Majors, yet are 5th in runs. This doesn’t match-up with their overall team hitting prowess. The Tigers’ 190 runs scored this season is 36 behind the league leading Toronto Blue Jays. I would guess that if the Tigers had scored just 10 more runs they would have three more wins. (Now, this flies in the face of their Pythagorean X W-L which would suggest that they have been lucky, but I think it’s a sample size issue as I noted a few days ago). So why aren’t they driving in more runs? They really should be considering they are getting on base so frequently and hitting so well.

I think there is one direct cause – Victor Martinez, ,more specifically, where he bats in the lineup.  Here is the Tigers offensive rank by lineup position (using OPS)

1. 4
2. 7
3. 1
4. 27
5. 9
6. 6
7. 17
8. 13
9. 19

So, which one of the above is not like the others?

And of course, the 4th spot is maybe the worst to be so bad because of all the run scoring opportunities. The Tigers still have middle of the pack run production from the 4 hole (23 RBI – 15th in the Majors), but that just demonstrates how many opportunities there have been.

The indirect cause is Brad Ausmus – and his insistence on sticking with VMart for so long, but a young manager against an established vet, I get it. VMart is a professional hitter and he’s going to come back and hit. But his bat, or lack thereof, has cost this team several runs in 2015, and likely a few wins.

In other news…is anyone noticing what Prince Fielder is doing right now? Good for him.

Baseball Reference Game Preview here.

1. Anthony Gose, CF
2. Ian Kinsler, 2B
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. J.D. Martinez, RF
5. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
7. Tyler Collins, DH
8. James McCann, C
9. Jose Iglesias, SS



  1. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    May 23, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Good write up Kevin. Also of note is the good stick that Jimbo McCann has brought to the line up. Especially when The Boss’ Son was in the Mendoza area.

    And yes, The Prince is being a Prince in Rangerland. Glad to see such as he has been through a lot.


    May 23, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    In Tigerland, Assmus is back to being an idiot, not being able to write the most potent line-up! What is his problem? Can he not see that the team is much more dangerous with Rajai at DH instead of Collins! We need to win every game!!


    May 23, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    High-lite real DP turned by Kinsler and Iggy ….. oh yea!

  4. Kaline fan

    May 23, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    2nd inning Sat game: Brilliant managerial non-call to not put bunt sign on for Castellanos, and brilliant piece of hitting by Nick, ground ball right into the shift, D P of course, exactly what Astros want him to do.
    Q = Will Castellanos EVER learn how to sac bunt???? Will Ausmus ever learn the hand signal to flash to his hitters for “B U N T “?

    • jud

      May 23, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      I am not sure Casty can bunt…however he does have the skill to go to the right side, where there is NOBODY!!!!..I am not sure he is smart enough to realize this. Situational hitting is way down on the list of priorities in the Tiger organization…left over from the Leyland regime where Leyland did not believe in it…..Casty faced with exactly this situation thurs or fri did exactly the same thing then!!!!

      • Kaline fan

        May 23, 2015 at 5:14 pm

        Right on, jud. This is exactly what I’m talking about. I’m afraid Ausmus must have taken his talks with Leyland too seriously, almost becoming a young Leyland-clone.

  5. Kaline fan

    May 23, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Beautiful throw-down by McCann. He’s as good as Alex in this regard, and I thought Alex was good.

  6. jud

    May 23, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Little clown show by the Astros to help the cause!!…

    One thing I really really like is as often as the clown show was part of the Tigers game the past couple years. We have seen very little of it this year

  7. jud

    May 23, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Well thats one way to reduce your LOB numbers!…more situational failure!

    • Kaline fan

      May 23, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      Situational failure —-yes. I just wonder how many more times (years?) these same situations have to occur, before coaches/hitters catch on?

  8. Kaline fan

    May 23, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Anyone real surprised by the 3-duffer turned by Houston?
    It’s Astros=smart = Kinsler knows he’s getting fastball on 2-0, and pitcher knows he’s going to swing. So== just make him hit it on ground —voila!

  9. Jud

    May 23, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    For the THIRD time this year Assmus leaves Lobstein in one batter too long…Think he will ever learn.?… need to answer!

    • Vince

      May 23, 2015 at 5:53 pm


      My ambivalence about the Tigers this year can be summed up in four words: Dave Dombrowski Brad Ausmus.

      That’s Dumass for short.

      • Jud

        May 23, 2015 at 5:54 pm

        Vince +1

    • Kaline fan

      May 23, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      Yeah, Jud —–I too, thought he was going to pull him last trip to mound. What was the talk about?

  10. Jud

    May 23, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    I guess taking out or leaving Lobstein didn’t really matter with “Gas Can” Al coming in…with his 7.00 era

  11. Kaline fan

    May 23, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    “Gas Can” AlAl should bring this game always!

  12. Coleman

    May 23, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    The pitching has been decent enough; the Tigers seem to consistently have trouble with Cy Whatshisname.

  13. Coleman

    May 23, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    I hope Iglesias is OK. And I hope Perez is gone by the all star break.

  14. jud

    May 23, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Perez is another “Dumass” responsibility. Your allowed one or two bench players and you keep one hitting. .073

  15. Jud

    May 23, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    20th time 42 games 2 runs or less. Tigers win first two..Lobster pitching…..means zero effort day off…….and no effort day off we get!


      May 24, 2015 at 10:03 am

      …..and they lost 14 of those games.


        May 24, 2015 at 10:12 am

        …..(5) in April and so far (9) in May. They are going in the wrong direction!

  16. jud

    May 23, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    And the Twinkies AAA team crawls to within a game of the Tigers….how embarrassing!!!!!

  17. Coleman

    May 23, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    Lobstein and BP did their jobs. You don’t win MLB games with 2 runs.

  18. Coleman

    May 23, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Kinsler: you guys are so lame with your GIDPs. Here’s a GITP, take that!

  19. JimEggersUSMC

    May 23, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Damn,I told a guy in the elevator (wearing a Tigers hat) they were winning. Oh well my lawyer can bail me out…did I mention she’ a magna cum laude grad?

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      May 24, 2015 at 10:42 am

      Well done Dad! I hoped you enjoyed the Red Sox game too!

      • JimEggersUSMC

        May 24, 2015 at 11:34 am

        Going today mama does not do night games 2 lefties so expect 7-5 type game