By:  Holly Horning

If you are a regular reader, you know we’ve started keeping track of a variety of stats on the Tigers that caused great concern last year. Stats that tend to get lost in the bigger picture of how a team is doing and stats that tell a more complete story if the team is struggling.

Much is being said about the team this month and it’s interesting to read how so many fans believe it’s a team underperforming while an almost equal number think it’s a team that is now too old to compete.

And if you read this blog every day, you know I love patterns. It is one of the best ways to explain what is going on with the Tigers. Where their strengths are and where their weaknesses do them in.

The first half of May has been a particularly difficult time so let’s look at some of the areas of concern to see what’s going on:


— 6 wins, 11 losses (4 against Twins, 1 each against Nats, Orioles)
— 1 series win, 4 series losses
— 1 sweep (win), 2 sweeps (losses)


— 24% of games (4 of 17) with 2 or fewer runs (2 shutouts)
— 9 times with the bases loaded and unable to score
— Tigers hitting .156 (5 for 32) compared to .336 last year
— majority of failure to score runners due to strikeouts
— Average of 8-9 strikeouts per game with more games at/over 10+ each
— LOB for 17 games is 116 with app. 7 per game
— Runners in Scoring Position is only successful 26% of the time (34 for 130)


— 12 times a better hitter not used as a pinch-hitter (late in the game) with RISP for a game that technically was winnable
— The majority involved leaving Gose in to bat, followed by Upton
— 3 times top offensive players were never inserted into the lineup in close games


— Relievers inserted 7 seven times (5 games) only after 1-2 HRs had already cleared the bases
— Relievers entered games 8 times (7 games) at the beginning of an inning
— Relievers called in 14 times (10 games) in the middle of an inning with an average of 2.5 inherited runners already sitting on base


— 13 GIDP
— 6 stolen bases
— 8 bases lost due to caught stealing, pick-offs and failed extra base attempts

We’ll be back with those final numbers, and more in a couple weeks. We’ll also compare May’s stats to those of April. Will the rest of May look better? Let’s hope so!


  1. The Tigers are underachieving the over hyping. Reasons for underachieving: bad chemistry, Cabrera’s weak leadership presence, poor fundamentals, poor discipline, lack of fire any where on the coaching staff


    • Why does Cabrera have to be a leader? He is a great hitter but that doesn’t necessarily translate to having to be the leader. I would think our leaders are Kinsler and McCann and McCann was injured. It’s also hard to lead when your manager makes so many mistakes.


      • I want to believe that McCann is a leader on this team but his hitting has been abysmal and the team’s losing streak started when he came back–color me skeptical. I hope his offense picks up; otherwise I’d prefer to see Salty. I concur that Miggy does not have to be a dugout leader.


      • I’d guess McCann last if I had to pick a leader on this team. He’s got the least impressive resume and is the youngest position player on the team outside of Moya. There’s a lot of proven veterans on this team I can’t imagine those guys are looking up to a 25 year-old with a career .248 batting average, someone who’s one bad season away from being back in the minors.


    • Actually they’re overachieving……go back thru every game and look at what their record should be. They’ve only been favored 14 times in 40 games this year so far. They’ve played the toughest road schedule of any MLB team right now and have had fewest home games in all of MLB.


  2. IMO age is not the culprit. We’re seeing the confluence of bad strategy, weak/inexperienced management, and a general lack of leadership on the field and in the clubhouse. They certainly are underperforming but my question is where is the voice and the guidance to help turn it around? .


    • The problem is pitching period end of story. Post a good ERA of league average or better and this team wins. Way too much emphasis on the manager. This isn’t a video game. The players mean everything. The same Ausmus all said should never have been hired as a rookie manager won 90 games that season. It really is that simple.


  3. Sorry Holley you have good stuff most of the time but, all those stats mean nothing unless they are compared to league average, or versus other teams. Are they higher, lower or average to the norm. If you can’t compared them it’s just noise.


    • Hi, IM41 – The end of the month figures receive a comparison to the league. Mid-month is to show the patterns that reveal clues about this month’s performance. But however you dice it, you don’t need league comparisons to know that the RISP figures and clutch hitting stats are bad. It doesn’t help to know that other teams are worse or better when your team is having problems. Is it more important to know where the Tigers stand in baserunning or to know that baserunning continues to be an issue with the Tigers losing more bases than they take? It all boils down to wins and losses and how these aspects impact them. If it’s rankings that are of greatest interest to you, they’ll appear in the end of the month report. Thanks for adding to the conversation! – Holly


    • RISP aren’t bad. In fact they are good and have been for years ranking as the #7 in wRC+ the last two years combined.


  4. I have to weigh in on stats and I’m a daily reader. I’m not that persuaded by your reporting today Holly. As IM 41 voices, readers need a league comparison. IMO Holly, your summary that the stats are weak and hopefully they improve next month kinda left me danglinq. I expected a much more pointed editorial at that point with a deep dive into Tiger’s stuttering season start.


    • Hi, Jerry – I said nothing at all about the stats being weak. I purposely didn’t provide an analysis with conclusions because I want readers to take it in, ask some hard questions and/or chew on this for the rest of the day. Answers are not what our blog is about. It’s about generating thought and discussion. These are patterns more than they are stats – and are merely a checkpoint early in the season that we’ll refer back to throughout the season. It’s way too early to make any pronogstications after only 40 days. The point is to see if they increase, decrease or become non-factors. Please share with us what you see in them! Thanks, Holly


    • “Partcularly difficult time” translated to “weak performance” for me Holly. Having readers digest and then think. I like that. Totally 180 from the “rice crispy bland news” we get in the daily rag sport sections here in the “D.” Totally Tigers is my morning jet fuel. Just looking for some hard line Holly opinions occasionally that’s all!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi, Jerry – I totally get that and appreciate your humor and preferences. Every once in awhile, I like to churn things up and hit them into the readers’ court while I stand back and watch. This is one of those days. I find that not taking a stance, and asking lots of questions instead, is sometimes way more fun. But my husband will tell you all I give are opinions. 😉 Thanks for the conversation! – Holly


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