Friday, May 14, 2010

Balancing act

Detroit is 20-15 after a great series against the Yanks in which the Tigs took 3 of 4. The starting pitching, for the first time this season, was solid. For the first time this season, the starters put together three consecutive Game Scores above 60 -- Rick Porcello 68, Jeremy Bonderman 65 and Justin Verlander 66. Even though the Tigers lost Bonderman's start, it was encouraging.

This year, though, has been fairly uneven for Detroit regardless of the starting pitching. The Tigers are 11-7 in games in which the starters have a Game Score of 50 or better; they are 9-8 in games in which the starters are 49 or worse.

Detroit is 14-2 when scoring 6 or more runs and 10-12 when allowing 4 or more.

The Tigers have outscored their opponents by a total of only 4 runs for the year. They are averaging 4.63 runs per game, which is just better than the AL average and ranks No. 7 in the league. They are second in BA (.274), third in OBP (.351) and fifth in slugging (.424). They are fourth in OPS, but are scoring 0.34 to 0.96 fewer runs per game than the three teams ahead of them.

This is because the bottom third of the lineup has been mostly a disaster. Scott Sizemore, Gerald Laird and Adam Everett have OPS+ of 64, 52 and 24, respectively. 24!

The AL average OPS for hitters 7-9 is .676. Sizemore is at .602 to lead the bottom third of Detroit's lineup. They've managed to hit 2 HR and drive in 14 runs. They've scored 20 runs.

It's rather remarkable the Tigers are 20-15 with this mish-mash of production. Of course, most of the credit goes to the bullpen, which leads the AL in wins (10), ERA (2.56) and IP (116). The last number is a concern, but hopefully the starters can continue their recent success this weekend against Boston.

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