By: Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning
This new series, One Thought, has the potential to drive quite a bit of difference in our observations for the week.
There are certainly obvious things that present themselves. But was there anything hiding in the shadows discovered by either one of us this week?
This is a toughy for sure, but we won’t shy away.
There was nothing more consistent this week than the Tigers inconsistency. The hitting has been strangely quiet against some pretty mediocre pitching. But Thursday they ran into Mike Pelfrey of the Twins.
He actually had been pitching quite well, which signaled what I thought was a good pitching matchup against a struggling lineup, enough to insert him into my fantasy team rotation. But what happened? Out came the Tiger bats.
But it’s a game like that, as the Tigers broke out with 20 hits, that you hope can carry over to the next series. In basketball, when a player is in a shooting slump, sometimes a simple layup or a made free throw can help them out of a funk. Just seeing the ball go through the hoop can relax them and begin to take the pressure off.
I think it can be that way with baseball too, but other hitters may gather inspiration from their best hitter as well, and watching him put good swings on the ball may relax them and help them to be more disciplined. Usually hitting or the lack thereof can be pretty contagious and actually it’s interesting how a Cabrera slump can carry over to the other guys in the lineup. But when he comes out of it, players seem to relax and swing at better pitchers.
Rarely do we see a big offensive display without Miggy being in the middle of it. This may all be a mirage, but it seems if Miggy isn’t leading the hit parade, then there ain’t no parade at all. He stirs the drink for sure.
So we will have to wait and see if my theory has merit as we move into the St. Louis series.
Wow, it’s hard to pick just one thing this week so I will go with my shorter topic today and address the longer topic on Sunday. It’s actually an issue that has been plaguing the Tigers for a while and so far this season, the numbers have been bad. And that’s not good.
It is the Tigers’ difficulty in getting runners in from scoring position and exemplified this week by loading the bases twice in one game and failing to score a single runner. In 6 games this week, it’s happened 3 times.
For at least the past 4 years, the Tigers have been near the top in RISP. A stat that is relatively useless because it is an issue of production but not necessarily one of success. When you look at run creation, the rankings plunge. Near the very bottom of MLB since 2013 with an average of 3.8 runs per game that ideally should have been scored. So far this year, the figure is closer to 4.0 and ranks #29 just above the Cubs.
In the last 6 games, the team had a RISP of 67 but only scored 26 runs. The RISP success rate was:
5 for 16
1 for 9
1 for 8
1 for 5
4 for 14
7 for 15
An abysmal success rate of scoring 19 times out of a possible 67 for a 28% success rate. The top teams average just over 2.5 runs per game.
So while much of the talk has been about the Tigers not hitting, that’s not an entirely true statement. They are leaving a lot of runners on base and wasting a lot of opportunities.