Tue 27 Apr 2010
A full baseball season can be broken into Nine 18-game segments. I have termed these 18-game segments as an “inning” of a season. Let’s compare the first inning of 2010 to the first inning from the last 4 years.
W-L RS –RA HR-SB-AVG/OBA/SLG W-L- IP- ERA W-L-S-ERA
2010: 10-8 84-85 10- 6-278/375/413 4-5-96.2-5.51 6-3-6-2.32
2009: 10-8 102-84 21-12-276/349/432 7-6-103.1-4.62 3-2-4-3.96
2008: 6-12 74 -112 15-10-262/345/404 3-9- 96.2-5.96 3-3-3-5.28
2007: 10-8 86 -79 17- 9-235/313/380 5-2-110.2-3.66 5-6-8-4.68
2006: 11-7 89 -69 30- 5-281/332/496 10-7-107.2-4.01 1-0-5-3.10
The start of the 2010 was a weird success. 14 of the first 20 games the Tigers play are on the road, and as the first inning ends the Tigers were close to ending an 11-day, 11-game, 7,000 mile road trip. I have been keeping my “innings” on the Tigers since 2007 and this was an inning of extremes. The lowest bullpen ERA in an inning, the least amount of HRs in an inning, one of the highest starter ERAs, and one of the highest on base percentages.
The starting pitching struggles hark back to the issues the starters had two years ago, but thanks to a lights out bullpen the team was 10-8 despite being outscored. On offense, the team had their highest on base percentage for an inning since the 4th inning of 2007, but hit only 10 homeruns (only 1 by someone not from Venezuela).
If the Tigers can straighten out their starting pitching, you have to figure they will give Minnesota a run in the division. But ultimately, they are going to have to perform in September. The Tigers under Jim Leyland have folded the last four seasons:
- 2006: The team had a 76-36 record and a 10-game lead on August 7th, they then went 19-31 the rest of the year and lost the division.
- 2007: The Team had a 59-38 record which was the best record in baseball and a 2-game lead on July 23rd. They got swept at Chicago in a double header the next day on route to a 29-36 finish.
- 2008: After a horrible start, the team climbs back to a 52-49 record on July 23rd. They were within 5 games of the White Sox. A blown save by Todd Jones against the White Sox starts a 22-39 run to end the season.
- 2009: The Tigers climb to 75-61 on September 6 and open up a 7-game lead after 3 dramatic wins in a sweep at Tampa. They then promptly get swept at KC by the lowly Royals starting an 11-16 finish that culminates in a one-game playoff loss to the Twins.
Analysis of the First Inning:
Starting Pitching: Bonderman and Willis were the big question marks coming into the season and even though neither were lights out, you have to be encouraged that Dontrelle only walked 7 in 17 innings and equally encouraged by Bonderman striking out 14 and only giving up 13 hits in 15 innings. Verlander has struggled, but he also struggled at the beginning of last year. Porcello is the real concern as he is getting hit all over the ball park (23 hits in 15.1 innings). Scherzer has been terrific, his strikeout rate is down from his rookie year, but this is probably by design as he is concentrating on going deeper in games.
|Rick Porcello||3||15 1/3||1||1||10||6.46||1.76|
Bullpen: The rigthhanders in the bullpen have been great. The 4 righthanders are combined to give up 41 baserunners in 40 innings with a 1.35 ERA. The lefties in the Pen, Ni, Thomas, and Coke have struggled at times, giving up 42 baserunners in 24 innings, but have held opponents to a 4.09 ERA.
|Ryan Keith Perry||8||8||0||1||1||7||3.38||1.63|
|Phil Coke||9||8 1/3||2||0||0||4||2.16||1.92|
|Brad Thomas||4||7 2/3||0||0||0||2||7.04||1.96|
Offense: The team definitely seems to be taking a different batting approach in 2010 as they are being much more patient (2nd in the league in walks compared to 8th in 2010). The hope is that the Homeruns will start coming in greater frequency as the season moves on.
With Guillen going on the DL, the Tigers are now starting 3 ture rookies who have made their debuts in 2010 (Jackson, Sizemore, and Boesch). The true rookies are hitting a combined 295/359/388 (avg/obp/slg), though they had yet to hit a HR. Miguel Cabrerra hitting like he did at the beginning of 2009. Magglio, traditionally a slow starter, is looking very good and is making Dombrowski look smart for not cutting him last July like so many in this town were demanding it. Johnny Damon is doing exactly what the Tigers wanted by getting on base and setting the table for the Venezuelans. If Santiago and Everett continue as they started, you have to figure Ramon will get the balk of the playing time. The catching platoon has thrown out a lot of runners, but hitting anemically 129/280/194.
In summary, the key to 2010 is going to be getting the starting pitching on track . Obviuosly, a 5.51 ERA from the starters for the whole season will not result in a record at the end that is over .500.