Thursday, September 15, 2011

Are the Tigers Ready?

It has been an unexpected set of wins for the Tigers. Now sitting at 12 straight wins, they are in a good position for post-season play and against the Yankees to boot. Are they up to the task? Are the pieces in place? Are they as good as the 2006 or 1984 teams?

Everyone is talking about Justin Verlander and his truly remarkable run to 23 wins so far this season (in 1968 Denny McLain won 31). Max Scherzer has a win/loss percentage of .636 and Doug Fister, picked up from the Mariners, is .833 and Rick Porcello is .636. Brad Penny is having a five hundred year at 10/10 rounding out a staff where everyone else has a winning season. I suspect, however, that Brad Penny, with some very weak starts of late, will be lower in the rotation for the post-season, if at all.

The team starting pitching stats for the season so far are a win/loss of .587, an ERA of 4.06 and a WHIP of 1.321, showing their slow start to the season. This resurgence was not as predicted, but good pitching still beats good hitting and the Tigers have good pitching and it's getting better. Good timing.

As with the pitching: the Tigers hitting had been suspect at the start of the season. They now have 152 homers, 677 RBI, a BA of .275 and an OBP of .338.
(Delmon Young is in for the injured Brennan Boesch. Young has 8 HR's and a .313 BA. Not up to the Boesch numbers).

In 1984, the Tigers started the season 35 and 5. That team did not have any hitter over .300 but did have 187 HR's, 788 RBI and a team BA of .271. The pitching combined for a 104/58 season and a win/loss percentage of .642. Some notable names from then are: Jack Morris, Danny Petry, Milt Wilcox and relievers, Aurelio Lopez and Willie Hernandez. And for the hitting, they had Lance Parish, Chet Lemon and Kirk Gibson. It was a pretty strong team on all counts. In the WS they beat the Padres 4/1.

Only two players from the ill-fated 2006 team remain, Justin Verlander and Brandon Inge. They have something to prove this time out. For the regular season in 2006, the pitching went with a win/loss % of .586, an ERA of 3.84 and a WHIP 0f 1.318. The hitting had 203 HR's, 785 RBI, a BA of .274 and OBP of 0.329. This team went 95/67, had a very strong post-season and lost to the Cards in the WS, falling completely apart in every category possible. It was a very embarrassing series for the Tigers. Their stats showed a better team than they played in the WS. They managed to beat the Yankees and Athletics to get the pennant and then choked. In the WS they had a batting average of .199 and OPB of .246. The pitching staff had an ERA of 3.00 and the Cardinals 2.05 and a Tiger WHIP of 1.405 against the Cards .909. The 2006 team had the lumber but was worse in pitching, but should still have won the World Series. The choke was a surprise for all to watch and could not be predicted by the regular season play. I do not even want to count up the number of errors committed. Just awful.

The 2011 Tigers have fewer home runs than the rest of this year’s contenders and have a better BA than everyone but The Red Sox and a higher OBP than everyone but the Rangers.

If the Tigers can keep finding ways to win (as they have of late) this team is nearly as good as the 1984 team. The 2011 team has recently played like winners. They have eeked out wins from potential losses. That’s what winners do. The Tigers are on track.


Rick Blechta said...

The Tigers and the Yankees? That would be a very entertaining matchup and could make for some memorable baseball. And you're right, John, the Tigers are putting themselves in a very good place right now. Hope they keep it up!

Larry Toman said...

Hi John, I as you well know am rooting for the Tigers as well. The post-season should be very interesting, as to how far they can go. I've got to call you on a stat though...after their 35-5 start, the Tigers dropped 3 in a row (35-8) and by the time they won their 40th, they were 40-13. Cheers!

John the Tomahawk Trembath said...

Thanks Larry, I guess it was too late and I could not count and wanted to better the stats.
I do hope momentum can work for the Tigers.