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 August compares with the stats from July 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 viewed solely 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.
August stands out as a very strange month. A Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde month. The stats for the first part of the month were absolutely horrendous, but as the team hit mid-month, there was a sudden turn-around.
Was it due to the teams they were playing? Was it due to the realization that they were so close to making the October baseball cut-offs? Was it because Cameron Maybin made it back into the lineup? Did the team finally gel? Or was it all or some of the above? You decide.
In August, RISP was lower than July’s – 25% success rate compared with 30%. There was also a decline in the ability to bring in runners from scoring position, averaging 1.9 runs per game and down from the 2+ runs in July and the approximately 3 runs/game in June.
In comparison, the average number of players in scoring position per game was 7.5.
The overall LOB averaged to 6.9, an increase of .3 from July.
In 9 out of 28 games, they were unable to push across a single runner from scoring position – an increase of 6 from July. And 19 of their 28 games were ones in which 2 or fewer runs were scored. In July, that figure was 6. And these 19 games were bunched in clusters of 3-4 games in a row, which helps to explain some of the inconsistency we’ve seen with this team.
Continuing the pattern, the team’s strikeout numbers also went up from July’s 202 to 207. Per game, they ranked 17th in MLB, which is 2 spots better than last month. On average, they fanned almost 7.5 times per game.
In 7 of the 28 games, they had 10+ strikeouts which is just 1 more than July’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 – 5 (all losses)
After a huge improvement in July, Brad regressed from 3 times leaving the starter in too long to 5 times. All were losses as compared to last month that showed a win. Still, an improvement from the season-high 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 (all losses)
Almost similar to last month with a total of 5. However, all ended up as losses, compared with last month’s 1 win. 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.
Last month saw 3 instances. But in August, there were 0. Part of the reason could be explained by the rash of injuries and influx of AAA and utility players who replaced the regulars.
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. July showed it happened 3 times but August had a mere 2. Take into account the significant number of players on the DL as a factor, too.
This is an ugly one, folks……
Stolen bases – 7 ( a drop of 6 from July)
From June’s rank as 13th best to July’s tie for 13th/14th, August saw them drop to 20th. Caught stealing 5 times which is 1 more than July and 2 more than June. The success rate has dropped from 83% to 76% to finally 69%.
Pick offs – 2 ( 1 less than July)
Finally! A tiny bit of good news.
Failure (stopped short) to take expected base – 6 (4 more than July)
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 (Same as July)
Does not include attempts to steal a base. Based up the criteria listed immediately above.
Hit into double plays – 37 (11 more than July)
Yikes! At least other teams saw increased numbers, too. The Tigers hit into more of them but remaining ranked 26th. They hit into double plays approximately 1.5 times per game.
Baserunning got noticeably worse in August. Part of the reason was the loss of Cameron Maybin, but the team also made much fewer attempts. June saw them lose 5 more bases than they gained while July showed they pulled even at 0.
Overall, in terms of making outs on the basepaths, the Tigers rank 25th to-date in MLB. When it comes to taking extra bases, they rank dead last, which is the same as last year.
Tagged out at home – 6 (4 more than June)
Bases left loaded at the end of the inning – 9
Let’s take any good news we can. They improved by 5.
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 August, the same as in July. Out of those, 55 were in situations where no runners were inherited. Out of those 55, 2 were due to HRs having cleared the bases. The 55 total and 2 situations were identical to July, believe it or not. Better overall and indicating that starters were going deeper into games, along with a more effective bullpen. The majority of opportunities (74%) involved not having runners on base when the bullpen entered.
One inherited runner was seen 6 times (the same as July). Two inherited runners, 9 times (decrease of 2 from last month). And 3 inherited runners were seen 4 times (same as July). A total of 19 inherited runner opportunities (decrease of 2 from last month). The bullpen and management of it improved in August.
# runners/ # scored = times (differential from July)
1/0 = 6 times (+2)
1/1 = 0 times (-2)
2/0 = 7 times (+3)
2/1 = 1 time (-3)
2/2 = 1 time (-1)
3/0 = 2 times (-1)
3/1 = 1 time (unchanged)
3/2 = 1 time (+1)
3/3 = 0 times (unchanged)
Fielder collisions (or miscommunication between outfielders) – 2 (2 better than July)
Shuts Outs – 2 (1 more than July)
Games with 2 or Fewer Runs – 12 (5 more than July)
Where to begin?
10.5 (July) down to 5 by the end-of-the-month
14 (August): Greene, VerHagen, Zimmermann, Saupold, Maybin (3x), VMart, JD, Moya, Upton, Norris, Iggy, Miggy, Pelfrey, Castellanos (down to 11 by end-of-the-month)
July Holdovers – 5
Due to opponent – 2
Due to unresolved physical issues – 5
Stuff happens – 6
Individual games record:
Wins – 15 (2 fewer than July)
Losses – 13 (3 more than July)
Wins – 5 (1 more than July)
Win Sweeps – 2 (1 less than July)
Losses – 3 (same as July)
Loss Sweeps – 2 (2 more than July)
Ties – 1 (same as July)
Needless to say, September will be the most critical month for the Tigers. Make it or break it time. October baseball or booking tee times. We’ll compare both August’s and September’s stats next month to see which issues, improvements and lingering concerns are helping or hurting the team.