Archive for March, 2007

Jeremy Bonderman Q&A

David Laurila at Baseball Prospectus recently had a chance to interview JeremyBonderman.  It’s a great read and they talk about everything from what stats Bonderman feels are most important to how he throws his pitches.  Probably the most interesting part is Bonderman’s pregame warm up routine.

Detroit Tigers Season Lookback – 1904

Record – 62-90, Finished Seventh Place in the American League
Pythagorean Record – 61-91


Hitters (BA/OBP/SLG)

C – Lew Drill (.244/.335/.294)
1b – Charlie Carr (.214/.245/.267)
2b – Bobby Lowe (.208/.236/.259)
3b – Ed Gremminger (.214/.257/.285)
SS – Charley O’Leary (.213/.254/.254)
LF – Matty McIntyre (.253/.310/.317)
CF – Jimmy Barrett (.268/.353/.300)
RF – Sam Crawford (.254/.309/.361)

Team Leaders

Homeruns – Sam Crawford, Matty McIntyre (2)
Batting Average – Jimmy Barrett (.268)
OPS – Sam Crawford (.670)
Best Fielder – Bobby Lowe (11 Fielding Runs Above Average)

Pitchers (IP/W/ERA)

SP – George Mullin (382.3/17/2.40)
SP – Bill Donovan (293/17/2.46)
SP – Ed Killian (331.7/14/2.44)
SP – Frank Kitson (199.7/8/3.07)
SP – Jesse Stovall (146.7/3/4.42)

Team Leaders

Wins – George Mullin, Bill Donovan (17)
ERA – George Mullin (2.40)
Strikeouts – George Mullin (161)

If 1903 was a step forward for the Detroit Tigers, 1904 was a step back. The team lost 90 games, a franchise record that would stand until 1920, and they were pretty pathetic at the plate even by dead ball era standards.  Probably the only thing that stopped them from being even worse was that the Washington Senators, who lost 113 games in 1904, were historically bad and it’s not ironic that the Senators were the only team that season that the Tigers had a winning record against (12-8).

At the plate, the Tigers hit .231/.278/.292 as a team, which put them in seventh place in the American League in each of those categories.  To put it into perspective, the Tigers slick fielding second baseman, Bobby Lowe, notched an OPS+ of 58, and this was a guy who played in 140 games.  Even Hall of Famer Sam Crawford had an off year.  From 1901 through 1915, his single season OPS+ dipped below 130 only one time and that was in 1904 when he came out at 114.  He did lead the team in slugging with .361 and RBIs with 73. 

The pitching wasn’t that much better.  The Tigers finished with a team ERA of 2.77 (ERA+ of 92) and that put them sixth in the league.  They finished with two 20 game losers (George Mullin with 23 and Ed Killian with 20) and only Wild Bill Donovan finished with a winning record (17-16).  George Mullin threw a ton of innings, but he also gave up a bunch of base runners and his 131 would lead the league (the second of four straight seasons he’d walk more batters then anyone in the AL).  The Tigers walked more batters then any other team  in the league (433) and they were only sixth in strikeouts (556).  Most importantly, the Tigers gave up more runs (627)  then every team except the Senators.

The 1904 Tigers actually got off to a decent start with an 8-7 record.   That would be the last time they’d have a winning record though and they lost their next eight games.  The made a decent run in August (their only month with a winning record, 14-13) but then they went 15-27 down the stretch.

1905 would bring new hope to the franchise.  Ty Cobb would make his debut and the Tigers pitching staff would put together a solid season but for 1904, the Tigers have the Senators to thank for keeping them out of the cellar.

Tigers Bounce Jays and Other News

The Tigers won their fourth straight spring game today with an 8-6 win over the Blue Jays.  Cameron Maybin proved why he’s one of the Tigers top prospects with another solid game.  He hit his second homerun of the spring en route to a two for four performance with three RBIs and two runs.  Magglio Ordonez had two hits and two RBIs while Ivan Rodriguez (batting leadoff) had two hits and two runs.

On the pitching side, Jeremy Bonderman (more on him) was roughed up.  He gave up five runs (four earned) on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts in four innings of work.  The pen picked him up though and Preston Larrison threw two shutout frames and Todd Jones and Joel Zumaya each kept their scoreless springs alive with a shutout inning.

Jeremy Bonderman was picked to pitch opening day for the Tigers and he’ll most likely face Roy Halladay on April 2.  Also, the Tigers sent Yorman Bazardo and possibly Kody Kirkland down to the minors.  You can check out the details at Tigers Minors.

Tomorrow, the Tigers split up the squads with games against the Devil Rays and the Braves.  More important, the game against the Devil Rays will be the first FSN broadcast of the spring.  Be sure to tune it at one o’clock.

Brandon Inge Drives in Five Runs in Win Over Phillies

The Tigers continued to roll as they outhit the Phillies today.  Brandon Inge had a big game.  he doubled, tripled and drove in five runs.  Carlos Guillen, Curtis Granderson and Timo Perez all homered in the 12-9 win.

Mike Maroth threw five innings and in four of those he was pretty solid.  He did give up three runs in third though.  All of the damage came on a three run shot by Shane Victorino.  Jose Mesa was bombed for three runs in the sixth inning (no surprise) while Edward Campusano showed he’s mortal when he gave up three runs in the ninth.  Campusano did strike out two in just the one inning though.

The Tigers are now 11-6 this spring and the Yankees are the only American League team with a better record.  Next up in the road show is the Blue Jays in a day game.  Jeremy Bonderman gets the start.

Detroit Tigers Hope and Faith

Nate Silver is the latest baseball writer to preview the Tigers with a nicely penned article over at Baseball Prospectus.  He talks about Gary Sheffield’s impact with his bat and a slew of other things that the Tigers could potentially do to make it back to the playoffs.  He’s pretty cautious in his prediction but he does leave some room for a repeat performance in 2007.  Nice read.

Another Shutout and Season Lookbacks

The Tigers dealt another shutout yesterday, this time of the one hit variety.  Justin Verlander looked sharp from the boxscore although I didn’t get a chance to listen in.  Four no hit innings is definitely something I can live with.  For a nice recap, be sure to stop by Bless You Boys where Mark wrote it up.

I’m going to try to restart my season lookback project this weekend.  It’s been a while since I’ve done one, but in case you missed them, it’s basically a snapshot summary of an old Tiger season.  I had started with the Tigers inaugural season in 1901 and had worked my way up to 1903 until I quit.  And in checking the dates, it’s been over a year so I’ll try to get to 1904 this weekend.  To check out what I’m talking about, here are the older seasons.

1901 Tigers
1902 Tigers
1903 Tigers

I’m also hoping to get up another 1967 retro over at the 1967 AL Pennant Race site.  If you have a nomination, let me know.

Why Nate Robertson Might Be Better Then We Think

Nate Robertson had a solid season last year, but his record didn’t neccesarily reflect it.  He finished the season at a dead even 13-13 and while he posted a rock solid 3.84 ERA and a 137/67 strikeout to walk ratio in a career high 208 2/3 innings he may have been even better then what those numbers indicate.

Baseball Prospectus tracks a statistic call pen support which tracks the number of runs that the bullpen gave up that ended up getting tacked on to the starter as runs.  Nate Robertson finished with a fourth worst 4.336 pen support in all of baseball.  And while Robertson does share some of the blame because those runners reached base because of him, you also have to ding the pen for letting them score.  Regardless, if you take those four runs off of his earned run total, you’re talking about an ERA of closer to 3.66, which would have put him right behind Justin Verlander (3.63) in the top ten in the American League.

For comparison sake, Verlander was second worst on the team with a 2.598 pen support.  The pen actually helped out Jeremy Bonderman with almost one run saved while Mike Maroth was the biggest beneficiary of the Tigers solid bullpen with a -1.581.  For Zach Miner and Kenny Rogers, the effect was pretty much neutral.

Tigers Preview Podcast

I was recently part of a Tigers preview podcast with the guys from the Big League Baseball Report.  We touched on everything from whether 2006 was a fluke to some of the moves the Tigers made in the offseason to get better.  It was a lot of fun and hopefully you’ll check it out.  I’ve been told it’s also on iTunes.

Gary Sheffield on Leave

It looks like Gary Sheffield is going to miss some time in camp for undisclosed reasons.  Thankfully it has nothing to do with the health of either Sheffield or a part of his family and Jim Leyland expects him to be back tomorrow in the Tigers’ spring game against the Phillies. 

Omar Infante Profile

I’ve always been a big fan of Omar Infante’s.  In fact I was such a fan that I thought the Urbina/Polanco trade that shelved Infante was a bad one (wrong yet again).  Now Infante is a player without a position.  He’s still only 25, and he can play just about anywhere but the problem is, the Tigers already have a bunch of outfielders and they also have a utility infielder in Ramon Santiago.  So finding a spot for Infante is kind of tough.

Lynn Henning recently profiled Omar Infante and it’s a great read.  If he gets discouraged though, all he has to do is look at Brandon Inge, who was a in a similar situation heading into 2004.  Things worked out all right there and hopefully they will for Infante too.

Ivan Rodriguez Showing Some Pop This Spring

While it’s probably not Ivan Rodriguez’s last hurrah, he is near the end of the line.  Based on some of the things he’s said, I think he’s looking to play two more years but you wonder, at his advanced age, how productive those last couple of years are going to be.

So far this spring though, he’s not showing his age and he’s hitting the snot out of the ball.  He leads the team with three homeruns, seven runs and thirteen hits and he’s hitting at a pretty solid .419/.441/.742 clip.  Yes, it’s a small sample size and yes it’s early in the spring but it’s a lot better then seeing him struggle.  And when you throw in what Pudge brings behind the plate, you wonder if he thinks this might be one of his last chances to help lead a team to a World Series championship.

Kenny Rogers, Bullpen Shuts Out Mets

Kenny Rogers threw a very solid game against a very good hitting team today in the Tigers 2-0 win over the Mets.  He threw five innings of three hit shutout ball before yielding to the pen. From then on, it almost looked like a real game with the exception of Wil Ledezma throwing the eighth.  Joel Zumaya came in and gave up nothing in the sixth and then Fernando Rodney, Ledezma and Todd Jones all threw shutout frames to finish the game up.

Curtis Granderson led things off for the Tigers with a solo shot and that was basically all the Tigers would need.  Marcus Thames added an insurance run in the eighth with his second homerun of the spring and he finished with two hits while Granderson was a perfect four for four.

The Tigers play their first night game tomorrow.  Justin Verlander will get the start tomorrow against the Nationals.  Game time is 7:05 and while it’s not on WXYT, the Nationals radio network has the game on so you can check it out there.  There’s actually quite a few night games tomorrow around the league including a Giants/Mariners game at ten.

Two More Edward Campusano Sightings

Alright, I think with all the hype surrounding him, Campusano is going to make the team.  I’ve talked about him enough the past couple of weeks but now he’s got some big names in his corner.  Peter Gammons mentioned him on his blog and then Pat Caputo had some nice things to say about him when I asked him about Campusano on his blog, Open Book (it’s in the comments of the Wed. entry).

What’s up Ramon?

I’ve never been a huge Ramon Santiago fan.  Not to say I don’t like him, I just always thought there was someone a bit better then he was and while I know he’s a solid defensive player, he wasn’t much on offense.  The question is, has Ramon found his stroke.  I heard on the radio that he trained with David Ortiz in the offseason and he’s to spring and he’s hit the ball pretty well when he’s in the lineup.  He’s five for 17 and he’s second on the team with two homeruns heading into today’s game, which gives him a .647 slugging percentage.   And while he hasn’t drawn a walk yet, he’s only struck out once.  He’s zero for two today with a strikeout, but that was against a very effective John Maine.

So say Ramon Santiago has found a touch of a stroke.  While I’d never expect him to hit 20 homeruns or hit .300, if he could hit .260 (his career batting average is .227) with a little more power then he’s shown in the past, he’d give Jim Leyland a ton of flexibility because both Santiago and Omar Infante (who’s a solid hitter in his own right) can play anywhere in the infield.  Santiago’s also a switch hitter which makes him even more interesting and with his glove, he’s always good as a late inning defensive replacement.

Ducksnorts 2007 Baseball Annual

I know this isn’t about the Tigers but it’s great to see bloggers doing this kind of stuff.  One of my favorite Padres blogger, Geoff Young at Ducksnorts, recently published the Ducksnorts 2007 Baseball Annual.  I bought the download and there’s a ton of stuff in here.  You get both a look back at the 2006 season and a ton of historical information.  These things are hard enough to do when it’s a collaborative effort and it’s doubly impressive that Geoff was able to pull this off by himself.  There’s also a foreward by Padres CEO Sandy Alderson.  Great job, Geoff.

More Edward Campusano

Yes, we all know by now that I really like the idea of having Edward Campusano stick and be a part of the Tigers bullpen.  Now I’m not the only one because he was recently highlighted in this nice column by Jason Beck.  Not only is he throwing well, but he’s putting up good numbers while working on a third pitch (changeup).  Like Fernando Rodney, hopefully he doesn’t lean on it too much but he does have a nice slider to go with it.

2007 Detroit Tigers Preview

My annual Five Questions piece is up on the Tigers today at the Hardball Times.  I’ll be doing a prediction piece here prior to the end of the season where I get a little more specific (and end up making a fool of myself).

Tigers Offense Muted in Loss to Dodgers

A walk off homerun by Dodgers infield prospect Tony Abreu cost the Tigers another spring win today.  Nate Robertson was off his game and he walked three and gave up a run in only 2 2/3 innings.  Edward Campusano gave up his first run of the spring but he struck out three in two innings and the only Tiger pitcher to go unscathed was Jose Mesa (sigh).

Cameron Maybin singled and drove in a run while two of the Tigers three runs scored on an error by third baseman Adam LaRoche.  Vance Wilson scored twice and the Tigers managed only five hits the entire game in the 4-3 loss.

More importantly, Magglio Ordonez came back after getting hit in the head and he went one for two.  It was good to see Mags in the lineup.

Comerica Park Mezzanine Makes the Cut

In a story about the best spots to watch a game, Comerica Park’s mezzanine made the cut and came in at sixth place.  First place was of course the Wrigley Field bleachers rounding out the top ten was the Green Monster seats at Fenway.  I also keep hearing things about PNC Park in Pittsburgh and I’d like to make a trip out there to catch a game.  We almost went to see the Tigers play there but we added our annual baseball trip onto a trip to Disney World and went to see the Devil Rays instead. Mailbag

Jason Beck at wrote up another mailbag column.  He touches on everything from all of the Tigers that have been hit this spring to whether the Tigers can bring in three million fans this year (which would set a franchise record).  Another good read from the Tiger’s beat writer.

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