Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Everything that appears on this blog is the copyrighted property of somebody. Often, but not always, that somebody is me. For things that are not mine, I either have obtained permission, or claim fair use. Feel free to quote me, but attribute, please. My photos and poetry are dear to my heart, and may not be used without permission. Ditto, my other intellectual property, such as charts and graphs. I'm probably willing to share. Let's talk. Violators will be damned for all eternity to the circle of hell populated by Rosanne Barr, Mrs Miller [look her up], and trombonists who are unable play in tune. You cannot possibly imagine the agony. If you have a question, email me: jazzbumpa@gmail.com. I'll answer when I feel like it. Cheers!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Tigers in May

In the April wrap up, I mentioned that the Tigers were erratic.  That has not improved.  Runs scored and runs allowed are both up a bit, and the standard deviations are up for both, as well.

In yesterday's Freep, Drew Sharp wrote a don't-worry-be-happy article on the Tigers' impressive starting pitching.  It's been great the last few days, but also erratic over the season.  I can't really quibble much with what Sharp says. They're in first place, now at 33-26, with a far better record than at this time last year, when they spent a great deal of the season struggling to get above .500  It's what he leaves out that's troubling, and we'll get to that.  Also in yesterdays' Freep, John Lowe fills in some of the blanks.

Before yesterday's game time, the Tigers were 24-15 when they get a quality start [QS], leading the league with both numbers. [Verlander then turned in another one for a win last night.]  They're tied with KC at 15 QS losses, against the Royals mere 16 QS wins.  It's pretty clear starting pitching is not a problem for the Tigers - but a few other troubling things are.


The Tigers have lost eight games in which they have led in the seventh inning or later. In five of those, they have gotten a quality start. In those eight losses when leading in the seventh or later, the Tigers have scored one run in the seventh inning or later.

That's the crux of it, on the offensive side.  The Tigers are mediocre in close games, less than that in extra inning games, and have no ability to come from behind for a late win.  That's because, win or lose, tight game or blow out, the Tigers offense is anemic after the 6th inning.  I heard on the radio broadcast last night that they are in the bottom three teams in late scoring.

And this from Lowe is why it's such a big problem.

The Indians have 11 fewer quality starts than the Tigers, but only two fewer wins in quality starts (24 for the Tigers, 22 for the Indians). If the Tigers don’t win more often when they get quality starts, and if Cleveland can get quality starts more often, perhaps the Indians will give the Tigers a race.

 Scoring per inning across the game has leveled a bit compared to April, but still falls off badly after the 6th.

Graph 1 - Tigers runs per inning in May

Contrast April, when innings 4 and 5 were powerhouses.  In each case, 10 is a proxy for all extra innings.

Here's a look at scoring by game.

Graph 2 - Tigers runs per game in May

And here's April.  Same song, different verse.  Blue line is runs per game, green line is an average to date from the first game, yellow line is average over the last 5 games.

Here are opponents runs per inning.

 Tigers Runs Allowed per Inning in May

 Despite the strength of starting pitching, runs allowed in the first 2 innings has deteriorated badly, compared to April. Granted, there were three more games, but the differences are far from proportional.   The 7th inning has also gotten much worse, though most of that comes from one bad inning by Sanchez against the Pirates on 5/29.

Here are some random stats.

Relief pitching has actually improved a bit, but the closer problem still looms large.

That along with the inability to score late could be the Achilles heels of an otherwise powerful team.


BadTux said...

And lest some accuse you of frivolity for using your graphing skills on mere baseball, this is also your chance to remind them that Nate Silver, the most accurate predictor of the outcome of the past two Presidential elections, learned his statistical skills doing, well, baseball statistics. So clearly this is good practice for budding statisticians :).

- Badtux the Statistical Penguin

Jazzbumpa said...


Truth is, though, I suck at actual statistics.

I loved baseball as a kid, but have no skills. My interest got rekindled in a big way last year when my 10-year-old grandson - coincidentally also a Nate - started playing on a traveling team.

Anyway, this is fun.