By: Holly Horning
If you’ve been reading Totally Tigers regularly, you know we are charting a number of categories suggested by fellow readers as well as categories that have concerned us over the years. Let’s see how July compares with the stats from June to help explain some of the patterns about the Tigers’ performance. Will these stats support the on-field eye test that we’ve been seeing lately?
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.
Wherever possible, rankings within MLB have been included. If you don’t see them, they don’t exist formally. But maybe they should.
(Included in the month of July is the very last game in June to complete a series.)
In July, RISP was on a par with June – almost a 30% success rate. The average number of runners in scoring position left on base was just over 5 per game, which was a significant improvement.
Ironically, despite more wins, the number of runs scored per game dropped from June to an average of just over 2 runs per game. June’s average was closer to 3 runs per game.
Three of their 10 losses for the month were games in which they were unable to push a single runner on 2nd and 3rd across the plate. Six of their losses resulted from 2 or fewer runners scoring.
The overall LOB averaged just under 6.5. Again, fewer runners than June which averaged 8 runners per game.
The team continued to drop their strikeout numbers from last month also. From June’s 218 to July’s 202. Per game, they ranked 19th in MLB. For the month, they sit at #18 which is a drop of 1 place despite striking out fewer times.
In 6 of the 27 games, they had 10+ strikeouts which percentage-wise was also better than June’s.
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 – 3 (2 losses, 1 win)
A huge improvement from June and a whopping one-third of the previous month’s total of 9. 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 and the Tigers’ offensive performance is taken into account.
Leaves reliever in too long – 5 (4 losses, 1 win)
Another significant improvement with 3 fewer opportunities. 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. And in June, perfection. But July saw a step backwards with 3. Overall, there were 7 instances in July where a pinch-hitter should have been used in the 8th and 9th innings to move runners along.
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. June’s showed an increase to 5 but July saw a decrease back to 3. But do 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.”
Maybe this is a good thing, because we’re discontinuing this category. Brad has learned not to utter this phrase anymore but he now uses longer phrases to convey the same thing. But the bottom line remains that he is abstaining from saying this tired phrase.
Stolen bases – 13 ( a drop of 1 from June)
June’s improvement saw the team move to 13th best. July sees them tied for 13th and 14th. Caught stealing 4 times which is 1 more than June and their success rate drops from 83% to 76%.
Pick offs – 3 ( 1 less than June)
Failure (stopped short) to take expected base – 2 (4 less than June)
Based upon speed of runner, opponent’s arm, location, type of hit and speed of hit ball.
Failed (cut down) attempt to take extra base – 4 (1 less than June)
Does not include attempts to steal a base. Based up the criteria listed immediately above.
Hit into double plays – 26 (2 more than June)
A number of teams are tied with 26 so the Tigers rank with those teams tied for second. They hit into double plays approximately once per game.
The Tigers are getting better at taking bases, but they are still bad. June saw them lose 1 more base than they gained and in July they lost 13 bases while stealing 13 for a net gain/loss of 0.
Tagged out at home – 2 (1 less than June)
Bases left loaded at the end of the inning – 14
The same number as June. Is it better to have more runners on-base but unable to score more runners? It’s a good question.
There were 74 opportunities given to the relievers in July. Out of those, 53 were in situations where no runners were inherited. Out of those 53, 2 were due to HRs having cleared the bases (which is better than June). Better overall and indicating that starters were going deeper into games. The majority of opportunities (72%) involved not having runners on base when the bullpen entered which is just 1% short of June’s stats.
One inherited runner was seen 6 times (increase of 2). Two inherited runners, 11 times (increase of 1). And 3 inherited runners were seen 4 times (same). A total of 21 inherited runner opportunities (decrease of 1).
# runners/ # scored = times
1/0 = 4 times (-3)
1/1 = 2 times (+1)
2/0 = 4 times (unchanged)
2/1 = 4 times (+2)
2/2 = 2 times (unchanged)
3/0 = 3 times (+1)
3/1 = 1 time (unchanged)
3/2 = 0 time (1 in June)
3/3 = 0 times (unchanged)
Fielder collisions (or miscommunication between outfielders) – 4 (2 more than June)
Shuts Outs – 1 (1 less than June)
Games with 2 or Fewer Runs – 7 (3 more than June)
Injuries: 8.5 (June)
Greene, VerHagen, Zimmermann, Saupold, Maybin (2x), VMart, JD, Moya, Upton, Norris
June Holdovers – 4
Due to opponent – 0
Due to unresolved physical issue – 5
Unnecessary risk – 1
Stuff happens – 8.5
Shut out from scoring – 1 game (1 better than June)
Games with 2 or fewer runs scored – 7 (3 more than June)
Individual games record:
Wins – 17 (1 better than June)
Losses – 10 (1 less than June)
(Keep in mind that the totals are impacted by the All-Star Game.)
Wins – 4 (same as June)
Win Sweeps – 3 (same as June and includes 1 4-game sweep)
Losses – 3 (same as June)
Loss Sweeps – 0 (1 less than June)
Ties – 1
The Tigers continue to improve on a number of fronts. How would these figures look if they hadn’t had to take off 4 days for the All-Star Game?
August is a crucial month in which they need to continue to trend upward. If this last week of play in July is any indication, August’s figures will continue to improve. We’ll compare both months to see which issues, improvements and lingering concerns are helping or hurting the team.