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Friday, April 14, 2017

Assessing the Tigers first 9 Games

Nine games in, the Tigers are 6-3, a percentage that would project to 108 wins over the season.  Nobody expects that kind of success, but we can hope that this team contends.  The bright spots have been 7 quality starts in 9 attempts, and offensive contributions from the back of the line up.  The let downs have been relief pitching - AGAIN, as always - and the lack of offense from the big guns.

Here are the batting stats.


Avila, A

1 .600 .667 1.000 1.667
Romine, A

4 .375 .375 .750 1.125
Collins, T

2 .350 .381 .500 0.881
Kinsler, I

5 .280 .455 .560 1.015
Jones, J

4 .238 .360 .524 0.884
Castellanos, N

4 .222 .282 .500 0.782
Martinez, V

3 .207 .294 .207 0.501
Upton, J

3 .182 .357 .364 0.721
Iglesias, J

4 .179 .179 .357 0.536
McCann, J

5 .167 .286 .542 0.827
Cabrera, M

1 .133 .278 .233 0.511
Mahtook, M

1 .071 .188 .143 0.330
Machado, D

0 .000 .000 .000 0.000

When the RBI leaders are the lead off hitter and a guy with a .167 average, but you're still winning, something strange is going on.  The real hero of the young season has been Andrew Romine, who can also play any infield or outfield position adequately.

Scoring has been well distributed across the game, with 12 runs coming in the first 3 innings, 16 in the middle third, and 9 in the final 3.  In five of their home games, they have not had to bat in the 9th inning.

The team batting average is a sorry .218.

So how are they winning?

1) Hitting has been clutch.  Note the low averages of the guys with 3 or 4 RBI's. This is not something you can count on in the long run.

2) Defense has also been good, with the occasional stellar play.

3) Starting pitching has been from very good to outstanding in 7 of the 9 games.  One loss came in Fulmer's excellent no-decision first start, when the bull pen allowed 5 runs in the 8th inning.  Zimmerman and Boyd each have one good and one bad start, accounting for the two blow-out losses.

4) They were lucky to catch the Red Sox when they were dealing with illness in the club house,  and some of their better players didn't make the trip to Detroit.

On the other hand, relief pitching has been wildly erratic.  There have been some good outings, but Sanchez, in long relief, has been horrible, and Rondon has been sent back down to the minors.

Here are the pitching stats.


Verlander, J

1 0 1.35 0.188 0.980
Fulmer, M

1 0 2.25 0.190 0.920
Zimmermann, J

1 1 5.06 0.216 1.310
Boyd, M

1 1 5.40 0.194 1.440
Norris, D

0 0 4.26 0.292 1.580
Sanchez, A

0 0 10.50 0.379 2.500
Wilson, J

1 0 0.00 0.000 0.430
Rodriguez, F

1 0 4.15 0.350 1.620
Wilson, A

0 0 4.50 0.214 1.250
Ryan, K

0 0 2.45 0.300 1.640
Greene, S

0 0 2.70 0.231 1.500
Rondon, B

0 1 40.50 0.500 5.250
Hardy, B

0 0 0.00 0.000 0.000
Jimenez, J

0 0 0.00 0.000 0.000

Frankie has 3 saves and a vulture win in 4 save attempts.  There is a lot of luck here, since he has not been very good. If he doesn't improve, the back end will be a liability, and that, all by itself, could sink the season.

Overall assessment and expectations -- The starting pitching will be fine, and usually will give the team a chance to win. Relief pitching is a huge question mark, and needs to get a lot better if this team is to contend.  They do have a pair of 2-1 wins where the bull pen was good, so there is hope.

Defense has been adequate or better, and hasn't been responsible for many runs scored.

Team offense is in the middle third or worse among the 30 MLB teams.  The current run differential vs the opposition is -6.  Their 37 runs scored have them tied for 19th out of 30.  Cabrera, Victor and J-UP will start producing, and J. D. will be back soon.  If and when that all starts clicking, the offense will be formidable.

Next up - three games in Cleveland.  This will be a test

Hope springs eternal - at least in the Spring.

Data source

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