5 Stats to Know from the Detroit Tigers’ 4-1 Win over the Chicago White Sox

  • Three

The number of hits by Tigers’ designated hitter Victor Martinez. After going yard against Chris Sale, this three-hit effort seems to have V-Mart trending in the right direction.

  • 1

The number of outs recorded by Tigers’ closer Joakim Soria in his eleventh save of the season. Soria struck out all four batters that he faced.

  • 116

The number of pitches seen by both teams. Fun fact.

  • 00

Kyle Lobstein’s ERA on the season. Justin Verlander’s rotation replacement has pitched well so far this season. This is good news for the Tigers given Shane Greene’s struggles and Verlander’s (soon-ish) return from the DL.

  • Two

The number of strikeouts by outfielder J.D. Martinez. The slugger’s averaged dropped to .220 after the game.

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5 Stats from the Detroit Tigers 7-6 Loss to the Chicago White Sox

  • Four

The number of RBI by designated hitter Victor Martinez. V-Mart only had nine RBI on the season entering the game, and had only totaled more than a single RBI once. Wednesday’s showing was an encouraging sign for Martinez as he showed signs of breaking out of his slump at the dish.

  • Zero

The number of runs allowed by Al Alburquerque, Tom Gorzelanny and Angel Nesbitt in a combined two innings of work. The trio seem to be among manager’s Brad Ausmus’ preferred pitchers out of the bullpen.

  • Six

The number of hits allowed in 0.2 innings pitched by Joba Chamberlain. The former Yankee took the loss while allowing four runs (all earned).

  • One

The number of home runs by Victor Martinez—yet another positive sign for the Detroit DH.

  • Three

The number of hits by Tigers catcher James McCann. McCann went three-for-five with two strikeouts on the day. If he continues to turn in displays like this, he’ll start to take more at-bats away from Alex Avila.

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Detroit Tigers: Success with Roster Turnover the Reason Team’s Championship Window isn’t Closing

Since the Detroit Tigers started their run of success, they’ve everyone will tell you some combination of these next seven statements about the Detroit Tigers.

  1. Their bullpen is dreadful.
  2. Their defense is bad too.
  3. They’re not built for the future.
  4. They’re top heavy.
  5. They spend money at a rate that isn’t sustainable.
  6. Their farm system is “barren”.
  7. They have no minor-league depth.
  8. The window is closing.

The first two statements are indicative of the team’s shortcomings over the past few years, but this season they are vastly improved. Detroit has solid a bridge to closer Joakim Soria consisting of Tom Gorzelanny, Joba Chamberlain and Alex Wilson. Additionally, Angel Nesbitt, who has pitched well as a rookie along with fellow youngster/flamethrower Bruce Rondon (once he returns from injury) will be vital bullpen cogs moving forward. Throw in rebound candidate Al Alburquerque (10.29 ERA at present, career 2.82 ERA entering the season) and you have a solid bullpen.

In terms of the defense, the additions of Anthony Gose and Yoenis Cespedes, coupled with the subtraction of Torii Hunter, the return of Jose Iglesias and the improvement of Nick Castellanos have left the Tigers with a strong defensive unit.

What’s significant about almost all of the aforementioned players is that general manager Dave Dombrowski brought them in an attempt to shore up the bullpen and defense. That’s been the Tigers model since their magical World Series run in 2006, reload and reshape.

The Tigers have gone from a team with a powerful lineup with no real weakness (2006) to one with the best rotation in baseball (2013), to this year’s team which excels at defense while still bringing the pop offensively.

They’ve been dependent on one major offseason acquisition/bat (Magglio Ordonez) before turning to another player brought in from outside the organization to lead the team (Miguel Cabrera).

They’ve also moved from one ace (Kenny Rogers) to another (Justin Verlander) before repeating the process again (Max Scherzer to David Price).

They’ve achieved all this with a perceived “weak” farm system. But regardless of prospects, the Tigers have continued to sustain success. They won their fourth straight AL Central title last season and are tied with the New York Mets for the best record in baseball over the course of the young season.

All good things have to come to an end, but Detroit’s window won’t be closing any time soon because of their ability to sustain success. They rarely deploy homegrown prospects, instead deciding to flip them into better, more established players. For as much as certain mainstream pundits like to go after the Tigers system, the belief is clearly not shared throughout the rest of the league. If it was, then the Tigers wouldn’t have been able to pull off trades for the likes of Price, Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister. Throw in players like Devon Travis and Drew Smyly excelling elsewhere and the Tigers “system” doesn’t look quite as bad other writers make it out to be.

This continual roster reshaping/reloading has firmly jammed Detroit’s championship window open. They’ve continually dealt for top talent while bringing in replacements of equal value when that talent grows old, ineffective or too expensive.

Dombrowski turned Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson, both of whom were All-Stars in Detroit and the on the verge of massive contracts, into Scherzer and Austin Jackson. Scherzer would go on to win a Cy Young award in Detroit while establishing himself as one of baseball’s best. Jackson, on the other hand, provided stellar defense in centerfield before growing too pricey relative to his production. He was one of the key pieces in the Price trade.

Rick Porcello was also shipped out before he grew too expensive, he brought back Wilson as well as Yoenis Cespedes, who has provided good defense while hitting .310 and driving in the same number of runs as Cabrera (17).

All in all, the Tigers aren’t as fiscally irresponsible as you might think.

The Tigers are rarely on the side of the deal that yields prospects for one player thanks to a history of trading prospects. Recent acquisitions Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene have joined a lit that also includes the likes of Carlos Guillen, Jhonny Peralta, Jose Iglesias, Delmon Young and Soria. The most significant player traded in all of those deals? Avisail Garcia, who hit .244 for the White Sox last year.

Detroit has continued to tinker with their team while not being afraid to cut their losses if an experiment fails. Furthermore, the team isn’t afraid to make bold/unpopular moves to further success.

Jeff Baker was acquired by Detroit in August 2012 for the stretch run, but due to ineffectiveness, was traded before the month was out. The Tigers ate money to move on from Prince Fielder despite their being seven years left on his contract. Robbie Ray, the still-developing centerpiece of the Doug Fister debacle was moved in a three-team trade to bring in Greene.

Bringing in Greene and Simon to replace Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello is certainly bold, as is dealing fan-favorite Granderson and replacing him with an unproven Jackson. Even bolder is the decision to deal nearly every prospect of note in the system (at the time) for Cabrera.

However, the moves seem to have paid off. Scherzer was essentially replaced in kind by Price, so swapping out the now over-paid Porcello and Drew Smyly for the comparatively cheaper duo of Simon and Greene is a win considering how well Simon is pitching this year and the potential Greene has shown. If Cabrera continues his current career trajectory he’ll be discussed in the same discussion as Hank Aaron… so that trade worked.

The team will do whatever it takes to win, and continue winning. They mortgage their future by swapping out prospects for veterans. However, when that future comes, they simply trade excess players and more prospects for new parts in order to maintain success.

Pundits will tell you that the Tigers will decline and be a very bad team soon, but they’ve been saying that for a while now. The Detroit Tigers have perfected their model and stayed competitive for nearly the last decade. Who’s to say it won’t happen for another decade?

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All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

5 Stats from the Detroit Tigers 2-1 Loss to the New York Yankees

  • One

The number of hits by Tigers hitters not named J.D. Martinez. Martinez went 2-for-4 with two strikeouts. Anthony Gose had the lone, non-Martinez hit. Gose also scored Detroit’s only run of the game.

  • Four

The number of home losses by the Tigers this season, three of which have come versus the Yankees this week.

  • Nine

The number of runs scored by the Tigers in a 9-1 win over the White Sox on Sunday, April 19th. The Tigers have struggled to score runs lately with their nine run outburst against Chicago being the only time in nearly two weeks that Detroit has managed more than four runs per game. In four games against the Yankees, the Tigers run scoring output was the following– 2, 2, 4 and 1.

  • Zero

The number of runs allowed by reliever Joba Chamberlain. The former Yankee continues to look sharp early in the season with just four hits and zero walks allowed in five appearances.

  • Eight

The number of strikeouts by Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez, who looked more himself after two rough outings against the Pirates and White Sox. Sanchez allowed one hit, one run and four walks over 6.1 innings.

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5 Stats from the Detroit Tigers 9-1 Win over the Chicago White Sox

  • 2

The number of home runs by outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, including his first career grand slam. On the day, the former Oakland slugger went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, one strikeout and…

  • 6

The number of runs driven in by Cespedes. The Cuban outfielder had a career day against the White Sox, almost single-handedly propelling the team to victory. Cespedes also has six hits in eight lifetime at bats against Chicago starter Jose Quintana. Four of those six hits have left the yard.

  • 39

Shane Greene’s ERA on the season. The former Yankee has been one of the best pitchers in the league since joining the Tigers. He allowed his first earned run of the season, raising his ERA drastically from 0.00 to 0.39. Greene has thrown at least seven innings in each of his starts.

(RELATED: Statistical Impact of Tigers’ New Additions)

  • 0

The number of runs surrendered by the Tigers bullpen. Ian Krol and Angel Nesbitt struck out a batter in an inning of work each. The duo surrendered a single hit between them and didn’t walk any batters. Nesbitt has yet to allow a run this season while Krol’s ERA sits at a solid 2.70.

  • .436

Jose Iglesias’ batting average on the season. The shortstop continued his torrid start with another hit on Sunday.

Next up—the Tigers kick off a seven-game home stand with a four-game series against the Yankees on Monday.

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5 Stats to Know from the Detroit Tigers 12-3 Loss to the Chicago White Sox

  • Nine

The number of runs given up by Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez in a start to forget for him and Tigers fans. Sanchez also allowed nine hits.

  • Two

The number of home runs and walks surrendered by Sanchez. Let me say it again— a start to forget.

  • Three

The number of runs given up by Sanchez’ replacement, Blaine Hardy. Hardy gave up three runs in only 1.1 innings pitched while allowing five hits and a walk. He struck out zero. One of last season’s breakout performers, Hardy’s ERA on the season is now 12.46.

  • Zero

The number of runs allowed by the Tigers’ bullpen after Hardy’s departure. In fact, the team only allowed five baserunners the rest of the way while striking out two. Angel Nesbitt threw 1.1 scoreless innings while Tom Gorzelanny, Al Alburquerque and Joba Chamberlain all threw scoreless frames.

(RELATED: Should the Tigers Sign Rafael Soriano?)

  • Five

J.D. Martinez hit his fifth home run of the season in the loss. His batting average sits at .255, but no one can doubt Martinez’ power. He’s proving that last season was no fluke.

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Detroit Tigers: Statistical Impacts of New Additions

  • Yoenis Cespedes

Acquired via: Trade, with Gabe Speier and Alex Wilson for Rick Porcello

Maybe the biggest name brought in by the Tigers this offseason, Cespedes has come out of the gates swinging for Detroit. Entering Friday he was hitting .308 with four doubles, three RBI and a triple in 40 plate appearances. He hit his first home run against Jeff Samardzija on Friday and while his 9-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio isn’t pretty, he’ll be a constant threat in a middle-of-the-lineup that also features Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez.

  • Shane Greene

Acquired via: Trade, for Robbie Ray and Domingo Leyba

Acquired in a three-team trade with the Yankees and Diamondbacks that also saw the Tigers relinquish prospects Robbie Ray and Domingo Leyba, Greene has been one of, if not the best pitcher for the Tigers (which is saying something considering David Price’s fantastic start to the season).

The 26-year-old has two wins in two starts while allowing a grand total of one run. That run was unearned. The former Yankee has shown great promise, only allowing one walk while lasting eight innings in both starts. His ERA won’t be 0.00 at the end of the season, but it looks like Dave Dombrowski found yet another gem.

  • Anthony Gose

Acquired via: Trade for Deon Travis

Yet another under-the-radar acquisition by Dombrowski, Gose has added a plus defender to the Tigers outfield while showing improved signs with the bat. The former Blue Jay entered the season as a career .234 hitter but has shown flashes of immense promise thanks to a .391 batting average. He’s also contributed two doubles, a triple, a home run, a stolen base and five RBI.

  • Alfredo Simon

Acquired via: Trade for Eugenio Suarez and Johnathon Crawford

Acquired in a trade with Cincinnati for shortstop Eugenio Suarez and relief prospect Johnathon Crawford, Simon has turned in nearly as impressive as a start as his fellow-rotation mate Greene. The former reliever has a sparkling 2.03 ERA over two starts (both wins). He’s struck out five and walked zero batters. There were questions about Simon coming into the season and whether he could replicate the form that made him an All-Star last season, but so far Simon is thriving.

  • Tom Gorzelanny

Acquired via: Free Agency

Signed as a free agent to fill a need in the bullpen, Gorzelanny has been solid in his two appearances, allowing only two hits in 2.2 innings pitched. He has a strikeout and has yet to walk a batter. He’ll get more work as the season progresses, so expect to see more of the former Pirates starter. He posted a 0.86 ERA in 23 appearances for Milwaukee last season.

(RELATED: Should the Tigers Sign Rafael Soriano?)

Continue to check back this season for updates on the newest Tigers and how they’re faring in their first season in Detroit.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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5 Stats to Know from the Detroit Tigers’ 2-1 Win over the Chicago White Sox

  • 40

David Price’s ERA on the season. Price allowed his first earned run of the season on Friday, giving him exactly one earned run in 22.1 innings.

  • One

Yoenis Cespedes hit his first home run of the season and as a Tiger in the victory. Cespedes, who was starting in place of Victor Martinez at designated hitter, went 1-for-4 on the day with two strikeouts.

  • Two

The number of hits by shortstop Jose Iglesias, who continues his torrid start. The slick fielder is hitting a robust .484 on the season and earned the win with a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to drive in Andrew Romine.

  • 10

The number of hits collected by the Tigers against Jeff Samardzija and ace reliever Zach Duke. Anthony Gose, Miguel Cabrera, Nick Castellanos and Iglesias all had hits apiece while Cespedes and Rajai Davis also added a hit each.

  • Zero

The number of runs/hits/walks allowed by closer Joakim Soria in the ninth inning. The closer pitched a perfect inning in the top half of the ninth before picking up the win on Iglesias’ walk-off hit.

(RELATED: Should the Tigers Sign Rafael Soriano?)

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5 Stats to Know from the Tigers 2-0 Win vs the Pirates

  • 1

The minimum number of times ever Tigers starting position player reached base. Rajai Davis and Jose Iglesias contributed two hits and a walk each while every other starting position player, with the exception of Alex Avila, registered a hit. Avila drew a walk and scored a run in three plate appearances.

  • 8

The number of shutout innings thrown by new Tiger Shane Greene. The former Yankee went eight innings without allowing an earned run for the second straight start. He’s 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA on the season. His strikeout-to-walk ratio sits at 8/1.

  • 3

The number of hits allowed by Greene. He also struck out three. The game was also the third shutout pitched by the Tigers this season. David Price and Anibal Sanchez gained the wins in those games.

  • 10

The number of pitches needed by closer Joakim Soria to work a perfect ninth. Soria lowered his ERA to 2.45 after the outing while making a strong case to retain closer duties once Joe Nathan returns.

  • 2

The number of hits by Jose Iglesias. The slick-fielding shortstop continues to impress with the bat after scoring a run and drawing a walk in the 2-0 win. He overtook teammate Miguel Cabrera for the American League lead in batting average.

Next up: the Tigers face the Pirates in the rubber match of the three-game series as Alfredo Simon takes on former Twin/White Sox Francisco Liriano.

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Detroit Tigers: Don’t Count the Tigers Out of the Playoffs

Thanks to the Kansas City Royals being reigning American League Champions and the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians making significant improvements in the offseason, the trendy pick is to not pick the Tigers to win their fifth consecutive AL Central crown. Another trendy pick, thanks to a vastly improved Central division, is to leave the Tigers out of the playoffs completely.

This may not be the most prudent of selections.

Everything comes to an end at some point, but do you really think the Tigers are going to let an unprecedented fifth straight division title slip away? Granted there have been some close calls in the past, but this year’s team has the mental advantage of having something to prove. Manager Brad Ausmus was still ticked that they got swept in January and says the team can be “successful and widely respected” and “still have that proverbial chip on its shoulder.”

So there’s the fact that they got swept in the first round as a rallying point after making three straight American League Championship Series. That run included a trip to the World Series and another October dream that came up just short thanks to other-worldly, clutch hitting from the Boston Red Sox. There’s also some of the whole “everyone says were through” business floating around as well.

The Tigers may be the best team not to win a World Series in the last decade. Since 2006, the Tigers have won at least 86 games every season with the exception of anomalies in 2008 and 2010. One of those seasons’ high draft pick that came as a result of a poor record netted the team Jacob Turner, who was used as the centerpiece of the Anibal Sanchez trade. Sanchez is one of the Tigers’ best pitchers and one of the most underrated hurlers in the league. He’s been one of the catalysts of Detroit’s recent success.

(RELATED: My ancient reaction “column” on the Sanchez/Omar Infante Trade).

Detroit’s baseball team wants a World Series title, leaving them out of playoff predictions is foolish. Obviously the predictions don’t really mean anything in the grand scheme of things, but the point is you shouldn’t be counting out the Tigers.

Detroit’s main competition for the division crown will come from Kansas City, Chicago and Cleveland. I’m sorry Minnesota, but even before being obliterated over the first two games of the season, you weren’t close to the pack.

The Royals essentially replaced James Shields, Nori Aoki and Billy Butler with Edinson Volquez, Alex Rios and Kendrys Morales. That’s secret code for a step down. Kansas City still has a good defense and bullpen, but they won’t be the same team. The fact that the Royals only managed six wins in 18 games against the Tigers doesn’t bode well for KC’s chances.

Chicago added some exciting pieces over the offseason in Melky Cabrera, Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson, Zach Duke and Adam LaRoche. Add those to a core that features Chris Sale and Jose Abreu and you have the makings of a playoff team—however the team was swept by Kansas City to start the year and lost the series by a cumulative score of 21-6.

It’s still extremely early, but the White Sox are going take time to mesh. Given how competitive the Central is, they may be too far behind once they mesh to make a run at the division title. It would surprise no one if the Sox made the playoffs, but right now they aren’t the well-oiled machine that Detroit, Kansas City or even Cleveland is.

Speaking of Cleveland, the Indians added Brandon Moss to fill a need offensively. Cleveland essentially swapped out Jason Giambi for Moss. This trade off will help the team, but the Indians have holes just like everyone else. Shortstop Jose Ramirez isn’t exactly a world-beater offensively while the Tribe’s outfield is hit and miss. Michael Brantly was an All Star last season, but outside of him there are definite question marks.

Michael Bourn arrived in Cleveland as a career .272 hitter who averaged 39 stolen bases a season. His best season came in 2011 when he hit .294 with 61 stolen bases for Houston and Atlanta. From 2009 to 2011 the speedster averaged 58 swipes a season. Last season Bourn led the league in triples with 10, but hit .257, drove in a measly 28 runs and posted a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 114/32. He only stole 10 bases.  

Bourn isn’t alone in the outfield in terms of seeing his numbers dip upon arrival in Ohio. David Murphy was able to rebound from a down season in Texas during his first year with the Indians, but was unable to replicate the success he’d found earlier in his career when he hit .283 from 2008 to 2012. He averaged 14 home runs and 61 runs driven in per season over that span while swiping 10 bags a season. Murphy only managed 8 bombs, 58 RBI and a .262 average last season.

Like Bourn, Nick Swisher entered the Tribe as a quality hitter. He hit .272 in his last season in New York and made the All Star team in 2010 with a .288 batting average. In his first season in Cleveland (2013), Swisher hit .246. His RBI numbers went from 93 in his last season with the Yankees to 63 in his first season with the Indians. That’s right, his RBI total dropped by thirty. Swisher struggled mightily in 2014, posting a mere 8 home runs and 42 RBI. He was limited to only 97 games, but he only hit .208 and posted an ugly 111/36 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Cleveland’s other two outfielders, Ryan Raburn and Mike Aviles, hit .200 and .247 respectively last season.

The heart of the Indians’ order (Brantly, Yan Gomes, Moss and Carlos Santana) can holds its own against most teams, but the Tribe will need other positions to step up offensively if they’re going to seriously contend. Based on the outfield’s struggles last season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cleveland fall short again.

Counting the Tigers out of playoffs probably isn’t a smart thing to do. Kansas City isn’t what they once were while the White Sox have yet to mesh and the Tribe have holes on offense. Expect another American League Central Title and another playoff berth for the Tigers this season. Did I mention they haven’t allowed an earned run yet this season?

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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