Monday, April 30, 2007

4/29: Tigers 4 Twins 3

Well, well, well, Brandon Inge showed up to play. Going 3 for 4 with the game winning walk off home run is a good day for anybody. Unfortunatly, though, he's still batting .156 with a fielding percentage just barely over 95%. Definitely a good start, however - now keep it up in the upcoming series against the Orioles.

Also, Gary Sheffield got another base hit and is well on his way to batting .200 and he's starting to look like the player we were all excited to have signed this past off-season.

All-in-all, a very encouraging win - heck, even Todd Jones, charter member of the Tigers Results! Doghouse got credit for the win.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Finally, a successor to Lima Time

Thank you, Free Press!
"Lately, I've been getting real bigheaded about myself," Zumaya said. "I've been falling into a little trap -- 'Oh, it's Zumaya Time, these guys can't hit me' -- instead of going out there and doing what I (was) doing last year."
For more on Joel Zumaya's ego, click here.

What's wrong with the Tigers?

Let's take a look at every game in which Tigers starters have provided quality starts (QS). A QS is when the starter goes at least 6 innings and gives up no more than 3 earned runs.

Date - Pitcher - Result
4/2 Bonderman Loss, 5-3 Toronto (10 innings)
4/8 Bonderman, Win, 3-2 Kansas City
4/13 Bonderman, Loss, 2-1 Toronto (10 innings)
4/18 Bonderman, Loss, 4-3 Kansas City (10 innings)
4/10 Robertson, Win, 3-1 Baltimore
4/15 Robertson, Loss, 2-1 Toronto
4/21 Robertson, Loss, 7-5 Chicago (10 innings)
4/27 Robertson, Loss, 5-3 Minnesota
4/6 Verlander, Loss, 3-1 Kansas City
4/11 Verlander, Win, 4-1 Baltimore
4/16 Verlander, Win, 12-5 Kansas City
4/22 Verlander, Win, 6-5 Chicago (12 innings)
4/12 Maroth, Win, 5-4 Toronto
4/25 Durbin, Win, 6-2 Chicago

So, when the starters are performing very well (which, fortunately, is a frequent occurrence), the Tigers are playing .500 ball. They're 7-7 exactly. (I'd be interested to see the all-time statistic about how likely a team is to win a ballgame when their starter has turned in a QS. I bet it's better than 50%.)

Let's look at the losses. In those seven games, the starter has only been the losing pitcher once. The rest of the time, we've had:
  • Fernando Rodney lose three games that Jeremy Bonderman started, and one that Nate Robertson started
  • Todd Jones blow a save
  • Joel Zumaya blow two saves and take a loss
  • Jose Mesa provide strong evidence for his being shipped off to the glue factory
The bullpen is a big problem. Tiger relievers have pitched 68.1 innings thus far and have given up 37 earned runs, amounting to an ERA of 4.87. But over the seven losses listed above the Tigers only managed to plate 17 runs, scoring more than three just once. That's an average of just over 2.4 runs per game.

So there are two things going on: in games where opponents don't get many runs in the early going, the batters don't get anything going, and when it comes time for the relievers to step in, they're as likely to throw the game away as to shut the door.

Re: Gum Time

Tigers could've used some gum to hold together their pitching staff in the eighth inning tonight.

Wockenfuss - does that put Zumaya in the doghouse, officially?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Gum Time

Last season, Tigers' pitcher, Nate Robertson developed a cult following of Big League Chew chewing baseball fans. Similar to the rally cap of yesteryear and the rally monkey of only a few years back, his gum chewing was meant to rally the troops and force a late inning comeback by the Tigers. While I don't have any stats on the Tigers win/loss record when Nate throws in a wad of Big League Chew, I do have this snippet from the Detroit News regarding the gum chewing:

Q . (For Nate Robertson) How did the whole gum-chewing thing start? Is that sugar-free gum? How many cavities do you have? -- Laura Drost, 28, Royal Oak

A . In a game last summer against the Yankees we were down, 5-0. They had me mic'd-up, and it was kind of boring in the dugout and we needed a rally so I just did something for the fans because I knew the cameras would be on. I just threw in some Big League Chew like we did in Little League. Right when I did it they had a camera on me, and Pudge hit a home run. It's regular (not sugar free) which is awful. My mouth and gums hurt afterward, and I have to use mouthwash. I've never had a cavity.

I can't wait until Nate has to sit out due to a severe TMJ disorder. Let's hope that the bullpen can start holding some leads and rally caps, rally gum, rally monkeys, rally mimes, rally carneys and any other rally tool are not needed.

In the mean time, check out Nate's occasionally updated Gum Time Blog

Curt Schilling nukes the idiot media

In the wake of a controversy manufactured out of thin air by Gary Thorne, fellow blogger Curt Schilling has taken the gloves off and called out specific members of the media on his website. He was right to do it. Thorne attempted to get a share of the spotlight by destroying the mystique surrounding Schilling's tremendous achievement, but in the end he came off looking like an idiot.

What's interesting is the comments that follow Schilling's diatribe; a LOT of people insist on calling him an "egomaniac," and plenty of people have negative things to say. Now, Schilling has brought this upon himself, in a way; he's outspoken (to say the least) and he's taken down the Yankees on several notable occasions, both with the Diamondbacks and with the Red Sox. But the fact that people are telling him to "get over" this situation and to stop being so "self-important" is telling -- there really are people who are so blinded by their hatred for Schilling that they're willing to stand behind a falsehood that was generated de novo.

I think it's important in this day of increased communications between all people that professional athletes start using the internet to talk to their fans and, if the need arises, to knock the socks off their detractors. I sincerely hope that Chad Durbin puts up a site letting me know how big an idiot I was for judging him by his first three starts, and that more Tigers get online and let us, the fans, know what's up.

Torii Hunter: give us the champagne

After last night's rainout, thoughts inevitably turn to this weekend's series against the Minnesota Twins. At 12-10, the Twins find themselves in a tie for third place in the division, one game behind the Tigers and a game and a half out of first place. Clearly, this weekend's action could cause a shakeup in the standings.

But the real story about the Twins thus far centers on star outfielder Torii Hunter, who made good on a promise he made to the Kansas City Royals last fall: he publicly asked the Royals to sweep the Tigers, which would allow the Twins to win the division, and in return he promised them champagne.

However, it turns out that this is a pretty big violation of MLB rules -- giving a gift to another team as a reward for defeating a common opponent carries a penalty of ineligibility for at least three years! That's a very large price to pay for four bottles of Dom Perignon. Fortunately for Hunter, the Royals didn't pop the cork; they're sending the champagne back to Minnesota. (For what it's worth, Jim Leyland has weighed in on the issue, calling it a "silly little idiotic thing." Go ahead, you tell that brusque codger he's wrong.)

So, we here at Detroit Tigers Results! have a solution to this problem: Torii Hunter, we will be happy to accept those bottles of champagne on the Royals' behalf.

It is not illegal to give Wockenfuss and I gifts, as we are most definitely not connected to any MLB club. We enjoy alcohol a fair amount, and Dom is a tiny bit out of our price range. We have wives who would be very impressed with us if we served them chilled Dom, or if we chugged a whole bottle without stopping. Plus, it was our favorite team that collapsed down the stretch, leading to your division title and playoff run.

Torii, we're calling on you to do the right thing. Give the champagne to us.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

4/26: Tigers 6, White Sox 2

As I watched the bottom of the ninth inning of last night's game, I was flashing back to 2003. That year, as you remember, the Tigers had two ways of playing baseball:

1. Losing games right from the get-go
2. Coming tantalizingly close to winning a game, only to blow a lead in a new and infuriating way

I thought I was seeing #2 all over again. After enduring Todd Jones's bungling (seriously, who lets the tying run come in on a wild pitch?) I was more than happy to see Joel Zumaya take the mound and close the door on Chad Durbin's gem.

Yeah, that's what I said -- Durbin's gem. Because that's what it was. His curveball was moving all over the place and his change-up was deadly. He posted nine strikeouts in eight innings' work, which, by the way, is the most any Tiger has thrown in a game all season long. That's stellar, but what really puts the performance over the top was the fact that he didn't surrender a single walk. His work has been the subject of tribute by others, as well.

And then Zumaya came in. After giving up a leadoff single which was erased by a double play, he proceeded to hit a batter and give up four consecutive walks. Yes, that means he had a six-run lead with two outs and nobody on, and yet at some point the tying run came to the plate.

Luckily the game ended the right way and Durbin's hard work wasn't squandered. And yes, Todd Jones got to pad his stats, picking up a save in seven pitches.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Angels 9, Tigers 8 (10 innings)

Tigers were down all game, then a furious rally capped by a Magglio Ordonez home run put the Tigers in the lead in the ninth inning.

Then Todd Jones gave up the game-tying run on a wild pitch, allowed the first man to reach on a bad throw, and just blew the game.

Sure, Bonderman gave up 7 runs. That happens. It's different than a closer who steps in and needs to get three outs to lock down the win.

I'm sick of this crap. I know it's only April, but when we're looking at the divisional race in September, these are the games that'll count. They're not throwaways.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bonderman Inning by Inning

Awesome - I had a nice piece written regarding Bonderman's inning by inning ERA and I clicked submit and poof - it was gone. I won't take the time to rewrite this completely, but here are Jeremy Bonderman's inning by inning statistics from 2006 until now. I was unable to find earned run statistics, so these are total runs allowed. Also all innings are assumed to be finished so if he went 6.1 innings, it will be reflected as 7 inning in these numbers.

1st: 4.74
2nd: 1.42
3rd: 3.79
4th: 5.92
5th: 3.86
6th: 4.06
7th: 1.35
8th: 6.30
9th: 4.50

It seems that while complaints of Jeremy's first inning struggles aren't completely unfounded, the 4th inning leaves even more to be desired. As this season progresses I will rerun these numbers focusing only on this season and hopefully we will see some marked improvement as Jeremy continues to mature into one of the top pitchers in the Major League.

UPDATE: This post is pretty much useless at this time, mere hours after writing it Jeremy messes with my stats by wetting the bed in the first. You better retire the next 13 batters in a row to make up for this Bondo.

4/23: Tigers 9, Angels 5

It looks like that day off may have helped Sheffield tremendously. After going 7/59 in a seemingly never-ending slump, Gary went 2 for 4 and drew another walk yesterday. His average is up to .143 which is still pretty bad, but he has his confidence back. The new goal for Gary is simple - get up to .200 over the next 10 games. Assuming 4 at bats a game (which is a stretch with all of the walks he gets), he will need 12 hits to bring his average above the Mendoza line.

Perhaps Sheffield and Durbin should raise the stakes a bit on who will meet their goal first. Sub 10 ERA or .200 batting average - some lofty goals indeed!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Fun with pitching stats

Fernando Rodney - 4
Rest of team - 4

Jeremy Bonderman: 4 starts, 28 innings pitched, 0-0 record, 2 home runs allowed, 2.25 ERA
Nate Robertson: 4 starts, 26.1 innings pitched, 2-1 record, 1 home run allowed, 2.39 ERA
Justin Verlander: 4 starts, 26 innings pitched, 1-0 record, 1 home run allowed, 2.08 ERA
Mike Maroth: 3 starts, 16.2 innings pitched, 2-0 record, 2 home runs allowed, 5.40 ERA
Chad Durbin: 3 starts, 13.2 innings pitched, 0-1 record, 5 home runs allowed, 10.54 ERA

Put another way:
Chad Durbin: 3 starts, 13.2 innings pitched, 0-1 record, 5 home runs allowed, 10.54 ERA
All other starters: 15 starts, 97 innings pitched, 4-1 record, 6 home runs allowed, 2.51 ERA

Sometimes pitching problems are tough to diagnose. But not this year:

1. Fernando Rodney needs to stay out of games whose outcomes are still in question until he regains control of his pitches and stops making a mess of every situation he puts in.
2. This is the wrong time and place for Chad Durbin, period. A career 6.31 pitcher should not be in the starting rotation of any team that's in a division that has four realistic contenders and isn't at all guaranteed to produce the Wild Card team, let alone the defending American League champions.

Sunday, April 22: Tigers 6, White Sox 5 (12 innings)

Remember those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books? You were given a little bit of introduction, and at a pivotal moment in the plotline, the book instructed you to flip elsewhere in the book. ("As you open the carton of milk, you think you notice the faintest hint of Drano. What do you do? If you drink the milk, turn to page 37; if you simply pour the milk on your little sister's Cheerios, flip to page 49.")

Jim Leyland has been in the position to choose his own adventure this weekend. The story's the same; the Tigers get out to a respectable lead, the White Sox close the gap, and the game goes to extra innings. Saturday, Jim flipped to page 142, where the story ended with yet another Fernando Rodney meltdown. Sunday, Jim did the right thing and let Wilfredo Ledezma get 3 innings of work. The result? A crucial win over a division opponent.

Hats off to Marcus Thames for hitting a clutch homer in the bottom of the ninth to allow the Tigers to get back into the game and to Placido Polanco for (let's face t) just being who he is. And of course, it's great to see Justin Verlander fending off that sophomore slump. A 2.08 ERA after four starts, none of which was shorter than six innings pitched? I think we'll take that.

Saturday April 21: White Sox 7, Tigers 5 (10 innings)



Saturday, April 21, 2007

4/20: White Sox 5 Tigers 4

When Sheffield was up in the bottom of the ninth last night I was certain that it was time for his coming out party in Detroit. I just KNEW a home game winning home run was going to happen. Instead, he stared as the ball as strike 3 whizzed by his knees. I still have faith with Gary, but it's time for him to start producing. He is a leader of the Tigers and needs to start showing it on the field. I'm sure he'll have a great day today as the sun is shining and the weather is warm - a perfect recipe to break out of a slump. Additionally, Chad Durbin came close to his goal but his ERA remains in the double digits at 10.54 - keep trying Chad!

Friday, April 20, 2007

The surest sign of spring

The Red Wings lost to the Flames in Calgary, 3-2. They're converting on something like 8% of their power plays and have a stellar penalty kill rate of 70% or so. Was Dominik Hasek asking Neifi Perez for tips on how to be clutch?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The quest for a scoreless 2.1

2 1/3 innings without an earned run is just what the doctor ordered for Chad Durbin ... to get his ERA below 10. That's what tomorrow's game is all about.

Chad Durbin's 2007 ERA - Inning By Inning
0.0: undefined - nice!
0.1: 0.00
0.2: 0.00
1.0: 0.00
1.1: 0.00
1.2: 0.00
2.0: 0.00
2.1: 3.86
2.2: 10.13 - oops!
3.0: 12.00 - double oops!
3.1: 10.80
3.2: 9.82
4.0: 9.00
4.1: 8.31 - headed in the right direction, and then ...
4.2: 11.57 - POW!
5.0: 16.20 - BANG!
5.1: 15.19
5.2: 14.29
6.0: 15.00
6.1: 14.21
6.2: 13.50
7.0: 12.86
7.1: 12.27
7.2: 11.74
8.0: 11.25
8.1: 10.80
8.2: 12.46 - not a bad trend till here ...

Day Off

The Tigers must be feeling pretty rotten after blowing the series sweep against KC yesterday. It should give them a lot to think about as they head into a series against the Chicago White Stockings. Hopefully as the temperature warms up in Detroit so will the Tigers bats. Somehow they're still in first place, but it won't last at this rate. Durbin has a great opportunity to start the series with a bang and lower his ERA into single digits.