July 3, 2003

DETROIT TIGERS (19-61 - 5th Place)

                         DETROIT PITCHING

April 5.39 .283 .348 .459 34.3 15.8 10.5 6.8
May 4.59 .236 .308 .387 32.7 24.5 9.5 6.9
June 5.89 .294 .350 .455 31.1 17.2 10.6 7.8

I'm not saying Detroit's starting pitchers deserve to win any awards this season, but my god do they deserve better than this.

Detroit's front four of Mike Maroth, Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Cornejo and Adam Bernero combined to start 22 games in June. They pitched a total of 129 innings with a 5.16 ERA - and went 2-15. Take out Maroth, whom the Tigers miraculously scored quite a few runs for in June, and the remaining three guys went 0-13 in 17 starts.

And it's not like this has just been going on in June. Detroit's starters have been getting completely ripped off with run-support all season.

Mike Maroth has a 4.82 ERA in 17 starts and he is 3-12. Nate Cornejo has a 4.39 ERA in 16 starts and he's 3-6. Jeremy Bonderman has a 5.06 ERA in 16 starts and he's 2-12.

Meanwhile, Corey Lidle of the Blue Jays has a 5.32 ERA in 18 starts and he's 10-6. Andy Pettitte has a 4.78 ERA and nine wins. Al Leiter's got a 5.57 ERA and he's 8-5. Joe Mays has a 6.30 ERA and he's 8-5 too.

As a whole, Detroit starters have a 5.02 ERA and they are 11-47. Minnesota starters have a 4.97 ERA and they're 33-29. Baltimore starters have a 5.20 ERA and they're 27-33. Heck, Texas starters have a massive 6.74 ERA - 34% higher than Detroit SPs - and they are 21-34.

Remember Chris George from the Royals? He has a 6.86 ERA - 37% higher than Detroit's SPs combined. He has pitched a total of 84 innings - 18% as many as Detroit's SPs combined. And he has nine wins - just two fewer than Detroit's SPs combined. Oh, and he has 42 fewer losses.

Currently, Maroth (3-12), Bonderman (2-12) and Adam Bernero (1-11) are all on pace to lose 20 games this season. The Tigers have recently said that Bonderman will likely be limited to 160 innings this year and he already has pitched 90.2, so it's likely he'll be shutdown before he can get to 20. Bernero has been the Tigers' worst starter and his lofty ERA may get him booted from the rotation before he can get to 20.

But Mike Maroth is pitching just well enough to keep making his start every fifth game and all he needs to do is lose eight of his second-half starts and he'll be the first 20 game loser since Brian Kingman in 1980. Maroth is on pace to make 34 starts and go 6-24. Assuming he makes 17 second-half starts, he could actually have a .500 record in the second-half and still lose 20 games. I don't know about you, but I'll be rooting for (against?) him.

                         DETROIT HITTING

April 2.35 .184 .258 .262 67.4 35.3 10.7 4.5
May 3.55 .242 .309 .379 35.7 26.0 10.7 5.2
June 3.52 .247 .299 .379 40.8 28.5 14.2 4.9

After that first month in which they scored a grand-total of 54 runs in 23 games, Detroit fans were probably thinking, "it can't get any worse." Well, they were right, and the Tigers' offense has actually been better in May and June. Of course, being "better" in Detroit's case still allows them to be the worst offensive team in baseball.

The Tigers had almost identical offensive months in May and June. They scored 3.55 runs per game and then 3.52 runs per game, and hit .242/.309/.379 and then .247/.299/.379. What's amazing is that, in all of their offensive futility, the Tigers have actually stopped taking walks. After averaging 3.0 walks per game in April and 3.1 in May, the Tigers drew a grand-total of 2.4 per game in June - the lowest in the AL. There are two theories to explain this that I can think of: 1) Opposing pitchers have come to the realization that the Tigers couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat, so they just toss it over the plate. 2) Detroit hitters realize they stink (I actually wanted to write that they realized they couldn't score in a who--house, but I didn't want to offend anyone) and figure, "I might as well just go up there hackin'."

Either way, the Detroit lineup is absolutely killing their pitching staff, who have actually been pretty decent - or at least not completely horrible - all year.

The only bright spots for Detroit offensively in June were Dmitri Young and Eric Munson. Young has been the Tigers' best hitter all year and hit .330/.418/.660 in June. Da Meat Hook is hitting .294/.368/.546 overall this year and is on pace to hit 30 homers and drive in 90+ runs. He deserves to be Detroit's all-star rep.

Meanwhile, Munson was the only other Detroit hitter with an OPS above .800 in June. He hit .291/.321/.506, raising his season-totals to a somewhat respectable .244/.313/.424. That is good for a .737 OPS, which, depressingly, ranks second on the team behind Young among hitters with 150+ at bats.

Warren Morris provided a little bit of punch upon being called up from Triple-A. Morris hit .280/.325/.440 in June 75 at bats and won himself the everyday second baseman job.

No one else on the team had an OBP above .305 or a SLG above .425 in June.

Fun with paces:

Detroit Tigers - 512 runs scored

The last team to score under 500 runs in a full, non-strike season? The 1971 San Diego Padres, who scored 486 runs in 161 games. Through their first 80 games, the '71 Pads scored 268 runs - 15 more than the Tigers have through 80 games. Stay tuned, it's gonna be a loooooooong season...

Coming up:

7/3-7/6 - @Kansas City

7-7 - Off Day

7/8-7/10 - Chicago

7/11-7/13 - Boston

Tough stretch of games for the Tigers...aw, who am I kidding?! Every stretch is a "tough stretch" for the Tigers.


Thanks for stopping by today and happy Fourth of July!

If you missed any of this week's entries or you just feel like reading them again because they were so spectacular, here they are:

Monday: Chatting through the pain

Tuesday: Louie, Louie

Wednesday: New Sox

Thursday: Joe and Johan, Roberto and Carl, Jay and Dave

Today's picks:

Chicago (Wood) -170 over St. Louis (Tomko)

Montreal (Ohka) +170 over Atlanta (Ortiz)

Boston (Lowe) +135 over New York (Wells)

Chicago (Colon) -140 over Tampa Bay (Zambrano)

Total to date: + $2,040

W/L record: 163-154 (3-3 yesterday for +35)

*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

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