By: Holly Horning
Let’s continue to chart a number of categories for the month of May that help explain some of the patterns about the Tigers’ performance. The list encompasses issues known to be previous weaknesses and issues of concern – batting habits, scoring, managerial tendencies and, of course, base running.
While some of these can be interpreted in more than one way, they generally give an idea of the frequency and patterns. And you know how I feel about patterns.
This is a compilation of issues that shouldn’t be looked at solely by statistical measures. It’s not as simple as black and white or the stats you see lined up neatly in columns online. Some of them are open to interpretation. Some of the stats need to be incorporated into the whole and not seen only on their own.
But what can be said about these stats is that they aren’t covered by the beat writers. They’re not highlighted as concerns or explanations about why the team is performing as it does. But I’ll bet you that the powers that be in the Front Office are keeping track of them.
So let’s see how April compares with May. Wherever possible, rankings within MLB have been included. If you don’t see them, they don’t exist formally. But maybe they should.
In May, RISP fell from April’s figures. Last month, the team scored slightly less than 25% of the runners they put into scoring position. This month, RISP stands at 20% with a typical game stat of successfully batting in 1 out of every 5 runners on 2nd and 3rd base. And in May, the Tigers lost 7 more games.
The Tigers put fewer runners in scoring position in May with numbers dropping from the double digits into the mid-high single digits per game. On average, they are driving in 0-3 runs out of every 5-9 RISP situation. When they win, they generally are bringing in 3 runners per game. In only 3 games, did they score 4 or 5 runners. The percentage that generally favors them winning is scoring 33% of the runners they put in scoring position.
The overall LOB averages between 5-8 runners per game. This is also lower than April’s stats which showed a range of the single high digits into the low double digits.
The team has increased their strikeout numbers from last month also. From 204 to 238 and they dropped 2 spots in ranking 8th worst. They are striking out approximately 8.5 times per game on average. In 1/3rd of their games in May, they struck out 10 times or more per game.
This is a category that is highly interpretive but the main purpose is to show the habits and possible patterns of the manager. It is filled with the concerns that the majority of fans have expressed since the end of 2014.
Leaves starter in too long – 12 (for 2 wins, 10 losses)
The number of chances went up again in May by 3. (April had 2 wins and 3 losses.) Based upon starters who give up 4+ runs and create a minimum of a 4-run gap differential in a game considered to significantly decrease the odds of a comeback.
Also considered is which inning and a situation where the pitcher gives up a minimum of 3 straight hits. Most importantly, the potential for a winnable game is considered as well with the Tigers’ offensive performance taken into account.
Leaves reliever in too long – 6 (all losses)
Once again, May’s figures were worse. April showed 2 instances (1 win, 1 loss) while this month showed an increase of 5 times to make for a total of 6 – all losses. One of the reasons why the Tigers’ bullpen had one of the worst bullpens in MLB for the month.
Based upon relievers who gave up 3+ runs and the criteria listed above for starters.
Bases loaded late in game, with a stronger batter not inserted to pinch hit and no runs scored.
In April, it happened 2 times. In May, just once.
Giving a hot player the day off.
Based solely upon batting stats, games in which the team struggled to produce more than 2 runs and the replacement player failed to produce. May’s number matched April’s – 3. Also consider that injuries and the typical cooling off period of early season can impact this figure.
“That’s baseball!” and “We’re a better team than that.”
Based solely upon newspaper reports, not radio or tv, I think Brad’s been reading the fan comments. This was the first month where neither of these statements was uttered.
Stolen bases – 10 ( a gain of 4 from April)
Despite the increase, the Tigers are the 8th slowest team in MLB. Their success rate at stealing is 62% and ranks 19th.
Caught stealing – 6 ( an increase of 5 from April)
They rank 5th worst but there are 11 teams tied for 1st through 4th.
Pick offs – 2 (equal to April’s total)
Failure (stopped short) to take expected base – 7 (equal to April’s total)
Based upon speed of runner, opponent’s arm, location, type of hit and how hard the ball was hit.
Failed (cut down) attempt to take extra base – 4 (5 fewer outs than April’s 9)
Does not include attempts to steal a base. Based up the criteria listed immediately above. Runners were less aggressive.
Hit into double plays – 19 (unchanged from April)
The team was 7th best in MLB and just under league average.
In summary, the Tigers were marginally better in taking bases. Getting better but still bad. In April, they gained 6 bases but lost 19. In May, they gained 10 but still lost 19. In both months, a net loss of -13 and – 9.
Tagged out at home – 4 (3 more than April’s 1)
Bases left loaded at the end of the inning – 12 (1 down from April)
Is it better to have more runners on-base but unable to score? It’s a good question.
There were 57 opportunities given to the relievers in May. Out of those, 34 were in situations where no runners were inherited. Out of those 34, 9 were due to HRs having cleared the bases. The other 25 were due to relievers starting the new inning. The majority of opportunities involved not having runners on base when the bullpen entered.
One inherited runner was seen 7 times. Two inherited runners, 11 times. And 3 inherited runners were seen 5 times. A total of 23 inherited runner opportunities.
# runners/ # scored = times
1/0 = 4 times
1/1 = 4 times
2/0 = 4 times
2/1 = 2 times
2/2 = 5 times
3/0 = 1 time
3/1 = 2 times
3/2 = 1 time
3/3 = 1 time
Fielder collisions – 2 (1 less than April)
Shuts Outs – 2 (same as April)
Games with 2 or Fewer Runs – 6 (1 more than April)
(McCann, VMart, Greene, Maybin, Zimmermann, VerHagen, Upton, Saupold, Horning)
April Holdovers – 2
May Injuries – 6.5 (increase of 2.5)
Due to opponent – 2
Due to unresolved physical issue – 2
Unnecessary risk – 1
Stuff happens – 3.5
Shut out from scoring – 2 games (same as April)
Games with 2 or fewer runs scored – 6 (1 more than April)
Individual games record:
Wins – 11 (1 less than April)
Losses – 17 (7 more than April)
Wins – 3 (down 1)
Win Sweeps – 1 (same)
Losses – 6 (up 3 from April)
Loss Sweeps – 2 (up 1 from April)
Ties – 0 (2 in April)
Next month, June’s totals will be added to the mix and we’ll compare 3 months of stats. It will give us a clearer picture of the issues, improvements and lingering concerns about what is helping or hurting the team.