This should've been the 10-game mark for the Tigers and their first day off, but a rainout Tuesday makes this the 9-game mark as Detroit heads to the West Coast. A few thoughts. First, it was important for the Tigs to beat down the White Sox yesterday and split what became a two-game series. Detroit needs to take care of business within the AL Central, especially considering how tough it will be to take games in the East.
Last year, the Tigers were 1-8 at this point. They averaged 3.1 runs per game and had an OPS of .702 with 56 Ks in 352 PAs. As for the pitching, they gave up 6.4 runs per game. They allowed 47 walks and 7 HRs while striking out 54 in 81 innings.
This year, the Tigers are 5-4. They averaged 6.2 runs per game and had an OPS of .844 with 52 strikeouts in 355 PAs. As for the pitching, they gave up 4.8 runs per game. They allowed 29 walks and 15 HR while striking out 67 in 78.2 innings. So even while giving up twice the homers, they're much better off thanks to significantly reduced walks and increased strikeouts. (Note: Reducing walks was the primary charge of new pitching coach Rick Knapp.)
Four teams are averaging better than 6 runs per game in the AL this year -- Baltimore, Detroit, Toronto and Texas -- and those teams make up the top 4 in OBP.