Game 2016.51: Tigers at Angels

Justin Verlander had another strong start last night, but then in the 8th inning it unraveled for him, and the bullpen and his defense didn’t help matters, and then of course, it’s Anaheim, where the rallies only blow in one direction.

You would think they way the Tigers fare in Los Anaheim that the Angels must be a great home team, but they are actually only 11-16 at home. Must be us.

Tonight the Tigers face lefty Hector Santiago, who didn’t even make it through 3 innings in his last start, giving up 5 runs in 2 1/3 (hey wait, when a pitcher does that, aren’t you supposed to leave him any anyway?). Maybe Santiago’s leftiness will wake up JD Martinez and Miguel Cabrera, who have been struggling a bit of late, with Martinez hitting only .192 over the last 7 games

Today’s Stop Monkeying Around Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. JD Martinez, LF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. V Martinez, DH
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Upton, LF
  7. Maybin, CF
  8. McCann, C
  9. Iglesias, SS

Game 2015.50: Tigers at Los Anaheim

Well, as Jud and others have pointed out, Anaheim has been a house of horrors for the Tigers. Last season the Tigers went 1-6 against the Angels; 2014 was a respectable 3-4, but that followed up a 0-6 2013. The good news is that the Angels are struggling this year at 22-28, with a thin .704 team OPS (Detroit is at .755), and with a fat 4.27 team ERA (Detroit is even fatter, 4.47).

The good news is that fat ERA has lately been in spite of, not because of, tonight’s starting pitcher Justin Verlander, whose last 4 starts have been vintage Verlander:  1.19 ERA with a stingy 0.82 WHIP. That, combined with the Angels offensive woes, should add up to a strong performance. OK, actually, Verlander will get bombed, because: rally monkeys.

Today’s Lettuce Win This Game Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. JD Martinez, LF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. V Martinez, DH
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Upton, LF
  7. Maybin, CF
  8. McCann, C
  9. Romine, SS

Game 2016.49: Tigers at A’s

Holy cow was the bullpen awful yesterday.

Not surprisingly, the Tigers have one of the worst bullpens in the American League. 14th in ERA (4.61), 13th in WHIP (1.39), 13th in BAA (.280), and 13th in OPS (.786). We’re roughly where we were last year…with half of the pen having turned over. One of two things is going to happen:

1) It’s not going to get better, and we’re going to have a revolving door of free agents and AAA pitchers who put up similar numbers.

2) Wilson/Wilson/Lowe will progress to the mean, and we’ll be a little better. Based on history and simple statistical theory, I fully expect this to happen.

Note that the Rangers’ bullpen is worse than the Tigers in every regard, and they are 7 games over .500. And Prince Fielder is below the Mendoza line with an OPS of .560. Every fan always has something to complain about.

Anyway, Pelfrey puts on his pinata costume once again as the Tigers look to take the series.

Curious to see what they do with Greene. I think he’s a better option than Pelfrey, but we may want to give Greene another run in the pen.

Baseball-reference game preview here.

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. J.D. Martinez, RF

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. Nick Castellanos, 3B

6. Justin Upton, LF

7. Cameron Maybin, CF

8. James McCann, C

9. Jose Iglesias, SS

 

 

Game 2016.48: Tigers at A’s

Tigers have won 9 of 11, are 1 game over .500, and 2 back of Cle in the AL central. They won’t keep up this pace, but they could be average enough in an average division. Ausmus’ seat temp has been reduced from scalding to boiling, maybe even just hot at this point in time.

Matt Boyd gets his first start of the season this afternoon. He’s been tearing it up a Toledo this year – In eight starts he’s 1-3 with a 2.06 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.

A’s pitcher Jesse Hahn has been very good against the Tigers in the past: 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA over 16 innings in two previous starts.

Castellanos’ defense looks to be so much better. Or he’s at least on the ground a ton more. Unfortunately, the stats don’t say so. He’s last among qualifying AL 3B in Fangraphs’ UZR and overall defensive rating. Sigh. I really wasn’t expecting that.

Baseball-Reference game preview here.

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. J.D. Martinez, RF

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. Nick Castellanos, 3B

6. Justin Upton, LF

7. Cameron Maybin, CF

8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C

9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Game 2016.47: Tigers at A’s

Tigers find themselves only 3 games out of first in the crowded AL Central. Should be a fun weekend. Who’s staying up late?

Baseball-Reference game preview here.

1. 2B Ian Kinsler

2. RF J.D. Martinez

3. 1B Miguel Cabrera

4. DH Victor Martinez

5. 3B Nick Castellanos

6. LF Justin Upton

7. CF Cameron Maybin

8. C James McCann

9. SS Jose Iglesias

Game 2016.46: Phillies at Tigers

Maybin and Cabrera are still putting on a show, Justin Verlander was in vintage form, and the Tigers have their brooms out for the Phillies.

Since it is the day game after a night games, this will be a short one. Unless I can get Romine to give me a breather.

Today’s lineup:

  1. Maybin, CF
  2. JD Martinez, RF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. V Martinez, DH
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Moya, LF
  7. McCann, C
  8. Aviles, 2B
  9. Iglesias, SS

Kinsler still out with flu-like symptoms.

Game 2016.45: Phillies at Tigers

The Tigers have begun to win games again, and their turnaround coincided with the arrival of Cameron Maybin, the focus of much of the current buzz about the Tiger team (the team is 6-1 since his return). His speed (his 4 stolen bases lead the team, and he flagged down a long warning track fly), and his bat (currently at .583) have been a big spark on the field. He won’t keep hitting this well; over a 10 year career he is a .254 hitter. But beyond his production, his personality has also drawn rave reviews, from everyone from Justin Verlander to Ian Kinsler to James McCann.

Maybin has also made many fans wonder if he isn’t better suited for the top of the order. Brad Ausmus says that isn’t happening. Brad added that scoring runs in the bottom of the lineup is good, which is hard to argue with, since scoring runs any time if pretty good.

Today’s Lineup (Updated)

  1. Maybin, CF
  2. JD Martinez, LF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. V Martinez, DH
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Moya, CF
  7. Saltalamacchia, C
  8. Aviles, 2B
  9. Iglesias, SS

Game 2016.44: Phillies at Tigers.

It’s interleague time, the good kind this time. Most National League teams don’t carry a DH type of guy; they have an extra Romine type of guy. So when it comes time to pencil in a DH, there is usually some .230 hitter batting 7th, which gives the home team an advantage. OK, theirs is long-in-the-tooth Ryan Howard, who does have some power, but is batting all of .161. The Phillies on the whole have been having trouble using those wood things you swing at the baseballs: their team OPS is a ridiculously low .651. In other words, they are team Anthony Gose. Their starting pitching though has been another story, and they have been managing to win without scoring much.

Tonight seems like it might be the night. Everything’s all right. Mike Pelfrey might get that W, that has eluded him for so long. Cabrera is fine and in the lineup; Upton is a late scratch, but…Moya.

Today’s Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. JD Martinez, LF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. V Martinez, DH
  5. Castellanos, 3B
  6. Moya, LF
  7. Maybin, CF
  8. McCann, C
  9. Iglesias, SS

 

Game 2016.43: Rays at Tigers

A few notes about the Second Inning (games 19-36):

– The Tigers went 6-12, marred by losing 11/12 at one point in time (I think we all remember that).

– The Hitters posted a slash line of .248/.314/.397 for an OPS of .711.

– The Pitchers posted an ERA of 5.25 with 121 Ks and 54 walks in 154 1/3 innings.

– Cabrera’s line during that period: .309/.390/.441 with an OPS of .831 and 5/21 hits were XBH.

– Here is the bullpens’ ERA & WHIP (most of the guys) during that time. ERA is dependent on a number of factors that the pitcher doesn’t control (like RBIs offensively) and FIP is a better measure (can’t get that easily), but with these gaudy figures, it really doesn’t matter. Numbers in parenthesis are their career WHIPs.

  • Kyle Ryan: 3.00/1.50 (1.35)
  • Drew Verhagen: 5.87/1.67 (1.44)
  • Justin Wilson: 9.45/1.80 (1.21)
  • Mark Lowe: 15.19/1.88 (1.40) – what’s incredible about Lowe is that of the 7 hits he gave up, 4 of them were HRs.
  • Alex Wilson: 7.04/1.56 (1.15)
  • Francisco Rodriguez: 1.69/1.31 (1.14)

So you had this amazing phenomenon where, based on WHIP (and likely several other key metrics) EVERY pitcher pitched worse, and mostly significantly worse, than his career average. Heck, you may be hard pressed to find a stretch that bad for Wilson, Wilson, and Lowe. All at a time when the offense was really bad too (the team OPS for the season is .751).

You could interpret this in two ways – 1) Ausmus lost the clubhouse. The team got into a funk and Ausmus couldn’t motivate anyone to get out of it. Or 2) the team played about as poorly in every facet of the game possible.  As far as starters go – Zimmerman and Verlander were solid in the second inning Sanchez, Fulmer, and Pelfrey had ERAs of 5.11/6.00/7.29 during that stretch.

With just slightly better bullpen pitching the Tigers win 2-3 more games during that stretch, and if the bullpen pitches like history says it should, we are probably closer to .500 for the Second Inning and are a few games over .500 right now.

Anyway, Zimmermann gets the rock to try and lead the Tigers to a series win today. Baseball Reference game preview here.

2B Ian Kinsler

RF J.D. Martinez

1B Miguel Cabrera

DH Victor Martinez

3B Nick Castellanos

LF Steven Moya

CF Cameron Maybin

C Jarrod Saltalamachhia

SS Andrew Romine

 

 

Game 2016.42: Rays at Tigers

Smyly on the mound for the Rays this afternoon.

Fulmer brings his winning record and staff pacing 6.52 ERA to the hill.

Should be interesting. I’m lining up my lawn mowing/Skoal time with opening pitch. This hasn’t worked that well for me yet this year.

Baseball Reference game preview here.

Today’s lineup (career numbers vs. Drew Smyly):

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (4-for-10, HR, walk, K)
  2. J.D. Martinez, RF (0-for-3, 2 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (0-for-3)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-3, double, K)
  6. Justin Upton, LF
  7. Cameron Maybin, CF
  8. James McCann, C (2-for-2, HR)
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS (0-for-3, K)

Game 2016.41: Rays at Tigers

TB in for a three game set. Sanchez starts tonight. Assuming the kids cooperate, I’m going to take a look at the 2nd inning tomorrow.

Baseball-Reference game preview here.

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. J.D. Martinez, RF

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. Nick Castellanos, 3B

6. Justin Upton, LF

7. Cameron Maybin, CF

8. James McCann, C

9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Game 2016.40: Twins at Tigers

You can’t tell anything about a baseball team until 40 games have been played.

-Sparky Anderson

Well, after today’s game it looks like we will be able to tell a thing or two about the 2016 Tigers.

Last night was the first time in a while that all parts of the game seemed to be clicking at that same time: the Tigers were hitting, fielding, running the bases; the bullpen did its job, and Mike Pelfrey finally picked up that elusive first W. Just kidding! Kyle Ryan got the W in relief, and Pelfrey’s last win is still August 12th, 2015.

Hit of the game has to be the Iglesias hit in the 7th. With the game tied, one out, and runners on the corners, James McCann whiffed, leaving two outs. Maybin steals second (that’s legal?) and Iglesias brings them both hone with a clutch single. The wheels fell off for the Twins after that, but I think if the Tigers had left that inning with a 2-2 ties, the game would have finished very differently.

Brad Ausmus is back today, looking to broom the lowly Twins out of town.

Today’s Lineup:

  1. Kinsler, 2B
  2. JD Martinez, RF
  3. Cabrera, 1B
  4. Castellanos, 3B
  5. Upton, LF
  6. Moya, DH
  7. Maybin, CF
  8. Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Iglesias, SS

With the series ending with the day game after the night game, I thought we might see some lineup foolery (Aviles, anyone?), but other than giving McCann a much-needed rest, Brad’s giving us the full-strength regular mix.

Update: the original lineup that was released had Martinez at DH; now it’s Moya.