Things to Know about the Detroit Tigers

The Mets go to Detroit this week for a three game set against the Tigers. Here are some things you might want to know about them:

Record: 43-36, 1st place AL Central
Manager: Jim Leyland. Lifetime 1,535-1,554 (.497) managerial record.
Under/over for the number of times Terry Collins will talk about his hero Jimmy Leyland while the Mets are in Detroit: 7.5
Park: Comerica Park. Plays more or less fair, favoring neither pitchers or hitters.

Quickly…
Can they hit? Yessir
Can they pitch? Eh
Can they field? Eh
Who’s their best player? Miguel Cabrera. Not a model citizen or athlete, but he can hit.

Lineup:
CF – Austin Jackson – R
LF – Brennan Boesch – L
RF – Magglio Ordonez – R
1B – Miguel Cabrera – R
DH – Victor Martinez – S
SS – Johnny Peralta – R
C – Alex Avila – L
3B – Brandon Inge – R
2B – Ryan Radburn – R

Half the Tigers’ lineup has been just awful this season: Magglio Ordonez and Ryan Radburn are both hitting below the Mendoza line, Brandon Inge has hit just one home run, and Austin Jackson has a .311 on-base percentage in the leadoff spot. But the Tigers are fourth in the American League in scoring (third in on-base percentage and fourth in slugging percentage) because the other half of the lineup has been killing it: Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Johnny Peralta and Alex Avila are all hitting well above .300, Brannan Boesch is hitting .299, and all five have on-base percentages above .350 and slugging percentages higher than .475. If the Tigers were getting even mediocre performances out of some of their supporting players, their offense could be up with the Yankees and Red Sox for tops in the American League.

Also, it’s worth noting that despite being fat and slow, Miguel Cabrera actually leads the Tigers in runs scored because he’s on base so much (.450 OBP).

Pitching Matchups:

6/28: RHP Rick Porcello vs. R.A. Dickey

Porcello (6-5, 4.50), just 22 years old, is already in his third big league season. He’s basically the Mike Pelfrey of the Tigers: Throws a lot of fastball, doesn’t have great secondary pitches and doesn’t miss bats. Also like Pelfrey, Porcello has had his fair share of ups and downs already (14-9 with a 3.96 ERA as a rookie, 10-12 with a 4.90 ERA last season). Every team’s got one.

6/29: LHP Phil Coke vs. Chris Capuano

Game 2 is a battle of the lefties. Coke (1-7, 4.32), the former Yankee, was converted to a starter this season and hasn’t been terribly good in his new role. But the Tigers haven’t helped him out either, scoring just 3.7 runs per game when Coke pitches. Fastball-slider-changeup, Coke is throwing a bit slower as a reliever and isn’t striking out batters anywhere close to what he did in the pen. Still, you could argue that he’s been the Tigers’ second best starter this season . . .which really doesn’t say much for the Tigers’ non-Verlander starters.

6/30: RHP Justin Verlander vs. Mike Pelfrey

This is why I’m sometimes okay with interleague play: Verlander is one of the five best pitchers in baseball, and this is the Mets’ second chance to see him in two years. On the other hand, he’s probably going to throw a perfect game against them: Verlander (10-3, 2.38) has made 17 starts this season, and 16 have been quality. He leads the AL in wins, strikeouts, and is third in ERA. He threw a no-hitter on May 7th. He’s made five starts in June, in which he’s 5-0 with two complete games, a 0.86 ERA, at least 8 innings pitched in every game, and double digit strikeouts in three of them. Also, he’s a deadringer for Littlefinger on HBO’s Game of Thrones.

The Mets miss RHP Brad Penny and RHP Max Scherzer.

Bench:
IF – Ramon Santiago – S
UT – Don Kelly – L
OF – Andy Dirks – L
OF – Casper Wells – R

No backup catcher – Victor Martinez, usually the DH, splits the catching duties with Alex Avila. Outfielder Casper Wells can sort of hit, everyone else is around for defense. Or something.

Bullpen:
RHP – Jose Valverde
RHP – Joaquin Benoit
RHP – Al Alburquerque
LHP – Charlie Furbush
RHP – Ryan Perry
LHP – David Purcey
LHP – Daniel Schlereth

Third to last in the American League in bullpen ERA, first in funny names. The problem is too many walks: Tigers relievers have walked 108 batters in 205.2 innings; only the Royals pen has issued more walks (123), and their relievers have thrown over 50 more innings. It’s not one or two wild pitchers. It’s basically everyone except Joaquin Benoit. Closer person Jose Valverde has 17 walks against 23 hits, but remains a perfect 17 for 17 in save opportunities. And the bullpen has just five blown saves total, so they have done a decent job protecting leads. Just, the rest of the time isn’t so pretty.

And those were some things to know about the Tigers.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Things to Know about the Detroit Tigers

  1. Bob

    “…Still, you could argue that he’s (Coke)been the Tigers’ second best starter this season . . .which really doesn’t say much for the Tigers’ non-Verlander starters.” Um… have you heard of Max Scherzer?

    • Patrick Flood

      Scherzer has a 4.47 ERA; Coke has a 4.32 ERA. Coke also has a better FIP (3.73 to 4.07), and the two are about even in Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement. Scherzer has better strikeout and walk numbers, but he’s also given up 14 home runs. Coke has given up just three.

      So, yeah, you could argue that Coke has been the Tigers’ second best pitcher.

      • Bob

        I think I’ll skip your team primers from here on.

      • Ahhhh! Facts! No thanks, sir!

      • Bob–May I just say, WTF?!

        Patrick says that Coke MAY be ARGUABLY the Tigers 2nd best starter, then backs it up with facts that clearly support his statement, and this seemingly enrages you so much you threaten never to read his posts again. And yet you never make a clear argument for why you believe his statement is so ridiculous in the first place. Pretty sure you lose this argument, dude.

      • Patrick Flood

        I mean, yeah, you could just as easily argue that Scherzer is their second best starter. But if you have such strong feelings about who the #2 starter is on each team, maybe you should skip the primers.

  2. Game of Thrones reference. Awesome.

  3. What really sucks is knowing that the Mets for once were going to do the right thing and had their eyes on Verlander in the draft and the Tigers took him one spot ahead of them. Of course Verlander probably would have been given away in the Oliver Perez deal knowing the Mets…

  4. 315@yahoo.com

    you should not capitalize “Know” in the title.

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