Category Archives: hitting

Tiger bats continue to love Texas, or maybe hate Texas if you consider the fact that they’re being kind of mean to Texas


old as dirt illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Here’s the creepy bit: I didn’t just draw this, I found this drawing lurking in my photobucket… from 2008. Which you can totally tell, but you know, whatever. I guess the Cats have done this before, that’s my point.

Yesterday everybody got a hit, and today ALMOST everybody did. The only exception was Ramon Santiago, who came in for the Rhino and only had one at-bat anyways so he doesn’t really count as not getting a hit because if he had been in the game longer he definitely would have gotten a hit. Or two hits. SEVERAL. Although the home runs were down– nobody went yard, after 6 balls left the field last night– we still got to see a boatload of hits, even if they were all singles and doubles. The ridiculous offensive output of the Tigers in Texas remains fully ridiculous.

What was tonight’s dose of Tiger-bat-diculousness? The Tigers hit 5 doubles in the game. Two players hit two each. Those players? Alex Avila and Casper Wells. Not so crazy for Avila to be hitting, since he is a Catching Savior after all, but Casper Wells has had to prostrate himself before Jim Leyland and tearfully beg for a start, so for him to come hopping lightly off the bench like all the time he’s spent cemented to it has been no big deal is ridiculous. Splendid and ridiculous.

You just know that as soon as everyone comes home to Detroit they will suddenly forget how to hit a baseball, but we’ll enjoy this while we can.

Soon enough I will do my Tigers Draft 2011 post. Rod and Mario were talking about the draft, and they mentioned that Dereck Rodriguez, SON OF PUDGE RODRIGUEZ, was drafted by the Twins. He’s a teenager! Pudge is still playing! I’m not ready!

In any event, the draft post will be where I make up facts about the new kittens, and probably repost the kitten drawing from last year. Get psyched.

a simple question


photo by Samara Pearlstein

Hey! Cats! Whatever happened to the whole concept of ‘run support’?

I was in favor of it, you know. As a baseball strategy. The starting pitcher more or less behaves himself, the bats show him some love. Everyone wins! Or, more specifically, the Tigers win. Which is what we want! It seemed like a good, solid strategy to me. Run support: support pitchers with runs. Simple enough for everyone to understand! Creates feelings of goodwill and happiness among teammates! Generally effective!

But you cats seem to have turned your backs on this whole idea. You scoff at run support. You claim run support is for weaklings and weenies, that big tough cats have no need of such things. And as a result poor Jeremy Bonderman is left standing there with his very good outing, wondering what the heck went wrong.

suddenly, the Tigers remembered that they had an offense

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Before Wednesday, the Tigers had scored 86 runs in 20 games in September. That’s an average of 4.3 runs per game. Maybe that doesn’t sound so bad to you, but let me remind you that, in the same time period, opponents of the Tigers scored 95 runs: an average of 4.75 runs per game. The Royals average 7 runs per game while playing the Tigers in September.

On Wednesday, all was (temporarily) forgiven as the Tigers put up 11 runs in support of Rick FredFred Porcello, a veritable overflowing bounty of runs and riches, the likes of which poor un-run-supported Edwin Jackson cannot even imagine. FredFred threw 94 pitches in just 5 innings, and the Twinkies won AGAIN, so the run support was very necessary here.

Most impressive, perhaps, was Carlos Guillen’s performance. He is still injured, still not really supposed to be hitting from the right side of the plate because it makes him feel worse and more… injured-y. But today for some reason he agreed to go up to the plate after a pitching change and bat righty, as the matchup situation would normally dictate, even though this is pretty much exactly what he said he wouldn’t be doing any more this season, on account of hurty bits.

His pain levels must be manageable now, though, because Guillen hit an early two-run homer off of Justin Masterson (who struggled mightily) while batting left-handed, and hit a completely startling solo homer from the right side off of a reliever. I thought he was still uncomfortable just taking swings as a right-handed batter, I would not have imagined that he could hit a big league pitch out of a big league park from that side. Maybe he was riding high on adrenaline and once it wears off he’ll realize the amount of pain that he’s in, or something.

Of course this was a game against the Racist Logos, who are currently below even the Royals for the ignominious title of Worst Team in the AL Central. No need to get TOO excited, declare the Tigers’ troubles over, etc. Still, eleven runs and fifteen hits and four walks, that’s nothing to sneeze at, not even if you have the swine flu.

(Temporary) yay (maybe)!

Hey, Tigers batters: you're playing the Royals. ACT LIKE IT.

digillustration by Samara Pearlstein

Kyle Farnsworth pitched two perfect innings against the Tigers’ bats. That’s really all you need to know about this game.

Really. That’s it. That sums it all up, right there.

Oh, fine. A few more disjointed, irritated thoughts:

–Justin Verlander ultimately pitched 6 innings, allowing one run and striking out 8. But he hit the 100 pitch mark in the 5th. He had moments where he looked dominant, but 100 pitches in the 5th inning, you guys, 100 pitches in the 5th. This is A Problem.

–Where have the bats been these last two games? The Royals do not have a fearsome pitching staff, at least not when it comes to their bullpen. So what– WHAT?!?– are the Tigers doing? How is it possible for them to be so utterly flummoxed by the sight of Royals on the mound? The Tigers only had five hits in THIS ENTIRE GAME.

–The embattled Fernando Rodney pitched in this one after some time off, and got knocked around hard: 0.2 innings, 3 runs on 2 hits and a walk. Nonsave situation, blah blah, the usual.

–At one point Farnsworth threw a pitch to Placido Polanco. It was a fastball, but it was only 93 mph and it had CRAZY lateral

movement. It was also a strike. What the hell kinda pitch was that and since when can The Farns throw it? Since when does The Farns have the kind of discipline (dare I say it…? self control) necessary to throw that pitch?

Did it really take sliding all the way down the MLB food chain to the Royals to overcome The Farns’ 100mph Hurrr I’m a Dude I Gotta Throw Hard pride?

–G-Money stole a base. I don’t really understand how a pitching battery can be so confused as to allow G-Money to steal, but at the same time have its business together well enough to shut the Tigers down.

–Billy Butler doubled three times in this one single game. Clete Thomas struck out three times. I’m just sayin’.

–Casey Fien got into this one. He didn’t get charged with any runs himself, but he did allow an inherited runner to score. He was only in for the last out of the 8th and gave up a hit (one of Butler’s doubles).

–Seriously, where are the bats?

–Awwwww Josh Anderson.

–Carlos Guillen doubled off of Robinson Tejeda in the middle of the game. Big deal? Not really. HOWEVER, Wednesday was 09/09/09, Guillen wears #9, and he doubled at, get this, 9:00 pm Central. So 9 got a hit at 9 on 09/09/09. Sadly (?) he wasn’t batting 9th, that would have made it CREEPY PERFECTION. Pretty neat as it stands, though, eh?

Verlander hits his career high in Ks, again, but this time something is different…

photo thing by Samara Pearlstein

I will admit that I just enjoyed how startled Verlander looked there, like he’s totally surprised to find himself surrounded by Ks. All these fine letters, where have they come from, what am I doing here, so on and so forth!

As you may recall, back in May Justin Verlander set his career high in strikeouts with 13, and then the bullpen made a feeble blargle noise and the Tigers lost the game. You will of course recall how ridiculous this was. Well, it turns out that all was NOT lost, at least not entirely, because on Wednesday Justin Verlander hit his career high in K-throwin’ once again by striking out 13 Rangers.

And this time the Tigers won!

~*~don’t faint, my children, it’s a miracle~*~

Was Verlander perfect? No he was not: in fact, he gave up four runs (three earned) in seven innings, which on a ‘normal’ Tigers night these days would not be nearly enough for a win, because the bats would be too busy making feeble blargle noises of their own to get more than one or two runs. In this game, however, the Hitting Vortex was temporarily banished, and the Big Cats managed to put up 13 run on 19 hits.

The River Thames, Miggy, and G-Money all doubled. Polanco doubled twice. The River and Miggy also both homered, with Granderson hitting two homeruns all on his own. Eleven Tigers had at-bats in the game, and only two failed to get a single hit: Magglio, who was 0-for-4, and Inge, who pinch hit and thus only had one at-bat to work with.

Ryan Raburn and Adam Everett both had 3 hits on the day. G-Money stole a base, basically forced a bad throw home, and manufactured a run with his catcher’s legs. Miguel Cabrera went 4-for-6 with 4 RBI.

Crazysauce? You bet your pants it’s crazysauce. Where did this come from? How is it possible for the Tigers to pry themselves away from the Hitting Vortex, which has been sucking them dry on the road ever since, like, June? And was this just a temporary reprieve, or are they going to fall right back into the Vortex’s gravitational pull since they’re continuing on a road trip? And, and, and…

I need to calm down. Justin Verlander is not asking these questions. Right now he’s probably just happy that he finally got a win to go along with his top K contribution, and he’s probably happy that the bats gave him a really big cushion, so that he didn’t have to worry about the bullpen Ruining Everything once he left the game.

(Yes, he threw over 100 pitches again. If you haven’t been keeping track, this means that out of 22 starts this season, Verlander has thrown 100+ pitches 18 times. He is averaging a little over 104 pitches per start this year, but at the same time he’s averaging somewhere between 6 and 7 innings per start, so it’s not like he’s accumulating all those pitches by throwing complete games every time out.)

And I’m slipping into nitpicky paranoia again. This was a pretty good game, and the bits that weren’t so good were masked by the much larger and noisier bits that WERE good. The Tigers have an offday on Thursday, then start a series in Cleveland against the Racist Logos.

Weather permitting, I will be at the ballpark for Saturday’s FredFred/Carmona matchup! I will be wearing a Brandon Inge All Star Game jersey and I’ll be clutching a huge dorky camera like a huge dork. If you see me, feel free to come say hi. RotTin’ will recommence after the weekend, as usual.

the Curious Case of the Missing Tiger Bats

all photos by Samara Pearlstein

The All Star break had ended. The Tigers filed back into the Detroit clubhouse for the first time in days. Jim Leyland sighed contentedly and lit up a cigarette, setting off the smoke detector, which everyone ignored through force of habit. Everything was just as he had left it: the pack of smokes on his desk, the scouting reports piled up in the corner, the Jason Grilli dartboard, the pack of smokes on top of the filing cabinet, the Ozzie Guillen voodoo doll, the framed photo of Andy Van Slyke in his goofy old school Pirates uniform, the pack of smokes taped to the underside of his spinny chair…

“Mr. Leyland!” Magglio Ordonez shouted. “Mr. Leyland! Mr. Leyland! Have you seen my bat anywhere? I can’t find it.”

Leyland was pretty sure that he had remembered to store the bats properly and securely before everyone left for the break. Or, at least, he had watched closely while the clubhouse attendants stored the bats. He had even insisted that all the Tigers give their bats a kiss before they left, so that the bats wouldn’t get lonely and surly after being ignored for four days.

But now… walking out of his office and into the clubhouse proper, he didn’t see any bats at all. He asked all the hitters to take a look: no bats. He checked everyone’s lockers. All the equipment storage closets. The batting cages. He sent Josh Anderson running upstairs to check Mr. Dombrowski’s office (just in case). He even looked in the showers. No bats. Not even a fungo!

Deeply concerned, Leyland stroked his mustache in thought. There was only one thing left to do. He grabbed his cell phone and dramatically punched the address book entry labelled

PAWS

By the time Paws got to the ballpark, Leyland had managed to work himself into a frenzy. He had looked in every corner, under every scrap of rug. He had screamed at the entire team, telling them that this was “absolute horses**t”, and now Rick Porcello was curled up in the corner sobbing uncontrollably while Justin Verlander patted him awkwardly on the back. Leyland felt a little bad. But only a little.

HAY GUYZ WATS GOIN ON IN THIS LOCKRRUM? Paws asked.

Leyland filled him in on the bat-less situation. The matter was crucial! The Tigers had to be in New York in a few hours, and then there were series with Seattle and the loathsome Wrong Sox to get through. They couldn’t show up on the field without any bats! How embarrassing! What horses**t!

WHERED U LAST SEE UR BATS? Paws asked. All the hitters scrunched up their faces in thought. They were obviously unaccustomed to the strain of thinking, with the exception of Curtis Granderson, who promptly replied that he had last seen his bat right before he got to the ballpark, in his apartment, as he put it into his equipment bag. Granderson had been at the All Star Game and so had had his bat with him for the entire break.

K, LETS TAKE A LUK, Paws said. They all crowded around while Paws slowly unzipped Granderson’s bag. He carefully sorted through all the gear once, then again. Then, very slowly, he took everything in the bag out, bit by bit, and laid it out on the floor.

There were lots and lots of blue socks in Granderson’s bag. There was an oversize check made out to a Detroit charity for children. There were a bunch of those stupid titanium necklace things. But there was no bat at all.

“Maybe he forgot and didn’t really pack his bat,” Brandon Lyon suggested.

DONT B DUM, Paws shot back. UR TALKN BOUT CURTIS GRANDRSN, HE IS PURFEKT. IF HE SEZ HE PACKD IT, HE PACKD IT. He stroked the white fluff on the end of his chin in a gesture curiously reminiscent of Leyland’s mustache-stroking motion. I THINK WAT WE GOT GOIN ON HURR IS UR STANDRD HITTIN VORTEX.

Everyone blinked. “Wait,” Leyland said. “A Hitting Vortex? What kinda horses**t is that?” In the corner, Porcello put his hands over his ears and started rocking back and forth.

Paws held up his front paws. IS VURY MYSTERUS. BASICLY IS A VORTEX WHERE UR BATS GO. LIEK A BLAK HOL IN SPACE, ONLY IS UR BATS AN NOT IN SPACE. NOBUDDY NOS HOW IT FORM, NOBODDY NO WHERE IT COME FRUM. NOBUDDY NOS HOW 2 MAEK IT GO AWAYZ. HARD 4 SCIENCE 2 UNNERSTND.

“Gosh golly gee Mr. Paws,” Dusty Ryan said, his eyes huge with rookieness, while Gerald Laird mimed vomiting behind him, “what’re we supposed to do, then? If even Science doesn’t know where our bats got to, how’re we supposed to play a game? Can we bring in new bats?”

NO!!! Paws shouted, causing everyone to jump. IS NOT HOW IT WURKZ! U BRING IN NEW BATS, THEY GONNA GO INNA VORTEX 2. SOON U GOT NO BATS INNA HOLE WURLD. UR MAKIN THE VORTEX, IT GOEZ WHERE U GO.

“You really do know everything,” Ryan said in a hushed, awed voice. Laird mimed passing out in his own mime vomit.

“The infant catcher’s got the right idea, though,” Leyland said. “We gotta do something. We can’t just go out there and… not hit.”

“Well, actually–” Adam Everett started, but Miguel Cabrera tackled him quickly and smothered him with a first baseman’s glove. Leyland nodded in approval.

Paws shrugged. U GOTTA. NUTHIN U CAN DO. U JUS GOTTA WAIT, IF UR LUCKEE SUMDAY THE VORTEX GO AWAYZ ON ITS OWN. SRY.

“This is such horses**t,” Leyland muttered.

Edwin Jackson nudged Verlander, who was poking Porcello every so often to make sure he hadn’t gone catatonic or anything. “Dude,” he said. “This is gonna suck so hard.”

“Dude,” Verlander sighed. “Word.”

Roar of the Tigers midseason report card 2009

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Aw yeah it’s that time again, time to grade the team RotT-style. Verlander had a good game on Sunday, Clete and Inge went crazy with their bats, this should put you in the mood for the gloriousness that is to follow.

PITCHERS

Jeremy Bonderman

Grade: n/a

Reason: deceased (zombie)

Freddy Dolsi

Grade: B

Reason: small sample size

Luke French

Grade: B+

Reason: OK so he also has a small sample size, bite me, I am grading him up based on his most recent start.

Arrrrrrrmando Galarrrrrrraga

Grade: C

Reason: Struggly struggles. There have been times where he looked like he was bouncing back to form, but there have also been plenty of times where he looked like he wouldn’t survive to see the light of another day with his own two eyeballs.

Edwin Jackson

Grade: A+

Reason: 1.06 WHIP, ’nuff said. Actually that’s not enough said. EDWIN JACKSON HAS HAD AN AMAZING FIRST HALF OF THROWING THE BASEBALL. How’s that for enough?

Brandon Lyon

Grade: B

Reason: I give him this grade mostly because of his cat-name, which, yea, has been as a boon unto us bloggers, and because I kind of want to pet his hair.

Zach Miner

Grade: C

Reason: He has not been that good. We didn’t really expect him to be that good, though.

Fu-Te Ni

Grade: B

Reason: Smaaaallll saaaammmplllle siiiiiiiize. But he says Ni!

Ryan Perry

Grade: C-

Reason: Toledo will do that to you.

FredFred

Grade: A-

Reason: Probably a little generous, but he has managed to amass 8 wins before he is even old enough to legally purchase a handgun or down a fifth of vodka. Respect, yo.

Nate Robertson

Grade: n/a

Reason: deceased (evil malformed stunted twin growing in elbow)

Fernando Rodney

Grade: D+

Reason: I can’t actually fail Fernando, he still has not yet blown a save. But I think we all know what the stress of watching him pitch has done to my already-fragile little mind, OK, that is plenty of reason to dock him several gradepoints.

Bobby Seay

Grade: A

Reason: He has been quietly going about his business, doing pretty damn well without making much of a fuss, or having much of a fuss made over him. He’s pitching significantly better against lefties, as he ought to do. He’s got a WHIP of 1.00 and an ERA of 2.89. I am surprised and gratified.

Justin Verlander

Grade: A-

Reason: He has more wins than Edwin Jackson, but mostly because he gets more support. He doesn’t get to strike that minus from his score until he stops being so bloody stinkin’ inefficient. I am picking nits, but this is a peeve of mine, I take it personally.

Dontrelle

Grade: n/a

Reason: deceased (zombie)

Zoom

Grade: C

Reason: Maybe if he would stop being so catdamned in love with his own velocity and started being just a little bit in love with mixing pitches and learning control, you know, maybe that would get him out of the Cs.

Grading continues under the ‘read more’ link!

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can we declare 'hitacular' a word?

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Hitacular, adj: beautiful in a dramatic and eye-catching way, involving lots of hits

ex: “This past weekend sure was hitacular for the Tigers!”

ORIGIN: a modern need to more concisely express how impressive good, or at least extensive, hitting can be, prob. an elision of the words hit and spectacular

You can roll your eyes at Oakland all you like, this series was still hitacular, and I enjoyed the heck out of it. After all, this was a series that saw 5 Tigers home runs (including a Brandon Inge grand slam [!!]), 2 Tigers triples, and 13 or a trillion Tigers doubles. If you can’t enjoy that, I worry about you, friend, I really do.

The Tigers scored 55 runs in the first 12 games of this month. They put up 34 runs in this one three-game series. Just wrap your brain bits about that one.

On top of that, FredFred pitched a wonderfully effective and mostly efficient game on Saturday, and Jackson spun a gem on Friday, as he tends to do.

All is not rainbows and kittens, of course. Armando is very worrying– he didn’t even make it a full inning today and you have to start worrying about when/if he recovers from these nonspecific troubles and ailments of the mind and body both. If the league has caught up to him, I don’t know that there’s much that can be done… he was never the type of superstar pitcher who can readily adapt to something like that…

Also not kittens: Magglio’s wife is having surgery, so he will not be with the team for a bit. I would hope he takes as long as he needs (and that the team lets him), but in reality he will probably only be gone a few days.

There were enough hits this weekend to overcome Armando’s problems, though, and maybe to temporarily make Magglio feel better, so: HITACULAR. Look at how positive I am being with my gritted teeth and my crazed glare.

see what happens when you get some hits, Tigers? you win games. sometimes.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I feel like I’ve been fixated on the pitchers lately. Maybe because I like to have the illusion that the Tigers can control the outcomes of games and the pitcher is the easiest single cat to look to for that. That sentence is wicked awkward, but you know what I mean. Probably. Anyways, along those same lines, this weekend’s wrap-up doodle was going to be Edwin Jackson and Rick Porcello holding hands and frolicking through a field of bats because they had finally gotten some run support in these past two games, but I started and almost immediately hated it, so you get this instead. Bat support. Yes.

Edwin Jackson, on Saturday, was a stud. A stud cat. A championship cat who has won all sorts of blue ribbons at the cat shows, the kind of cat who does not hiss or go cross-eyed even when the cat show judges are manhandling him, the kind of cat whose ears are precisely the right shape and whose fur typifies the breed standard.

He was baffling the Racist Logos, but it seemed like the Tigers were going to do what they’ve often done for him so far this season: that is to say, not a catdamned thing. Edwin Jackson has not had the luxury of knowing what run support looks like in a Tigers uniform and might in fact believe that he has hallucinated the entire batting lineup. I wouldn’t blame him. Even the Tigers win that I saw in Seattle, which Jackson started, featured a mere two runs for the good guys (and one of those was unearned). Breathing room? Who needs breathing?!

Don’t get me wrong, Saturday was not exactly an overwhelming rush of big cat scoring either. The Tigers put four runs up on the board, two of them after Jackson had already left the game. But four runs are better than a poke in the eyeball, and after his last couple of starts, I am sure that four runs must have felt like a veritable dragon’s hoard of riches to Jackson.

On Sunday FredFred had a just-tolerable outing: five innings, five hits, one run. But the bats bailed him out by slapping Anthony Reyes around a little, making him feel bad about himself, giving wooden voice to his secret fears and misgivings of self. BASEBALL, YEAH! The bullpen came through (a group of cats who have fallen down on the job for Jackson in the recent past, ahem ahem) and even though Fernando treated the 9th with the contempt he often holds for non-save situations and gave up a couple of runs, by then the Tigs had enough breathing room (see, there it is) to keep his shenanigans from becoming disastrous.

Ugh, I’m still fixating on the pitchers. Random thoughts.

–Jeff Larish DH’d and hit a home run on Sunday, after tripling on Saturday. Leyland’s decision to play him has worked out awfully well of late. Possibly another bit of Leylandsian magic?

–Magglio had the day off on Saturday, then had two hits on Sunday with his pink bat, including a double that I believe was his first of the season (which sounds insane, but is true). He’s batting .241 right now, which is still not great, obviously, but he is hopefully creeping his way back up.

–WHY would you pitch Fernando two nights in a row, if the second night did not involve a save situation? I mean, there are bad ideas, and then there are Bad Ideas, and then there’s Abusing Fernando for No Readily Discernible Reason. I am willing to accept the fact that there are things that Jim Leyland knows about this team that I do not and cannot, as a fan, truly know, but I am having a pretty hard time parsing this one.

–Rod made some sort of hockey joke this weekend… something about a five-hole? I don’t know. Durr hurr, hockey. Anyways, Mario complimented him on it, causing Rod to laugh and admit that his “boys in the truck” had fed him the line. They got his back out in the truck.

–I was listening to some of Sunday’s game on the radio, and was getting the Cleveland broadcast. At one point Miguel Cabrera failed to quickly leg out a single and turned a muffed play into a groundout by being slow, prompting the Cleveland announcer to say that Miggy “runs like he’s heading to the guillotine.” I, uh… WHAT?!

Monday is an offday. Sleep, kittens, sleep. Tuesday Arrrrrrrmando goes up against Kevin Slowey. Armando has been struggling of late. Now would be a nice time for him to turn that stuff around. There is never any time like the present, Armando.

still blaming the bats in Detroit

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Ugh, you know what? I can’t even. I am getting sick and tired of flinging the same fecal matter around over and over again. The Tigers are so out of synch that it’s not even funny except in that grim gallows-humor kind of way. Slow asphyxiation? HILARITY! Verlander’s win total? LOLARIOUS!

Did you know that they’ve had 11 quality starts in 40 games? That’s a terrible stat. Twenty-eight percent of the time they take the mound, Tigers pitchers have a quality start. I have to be up at 5 am tomorrow so I am not even going to dig around and find out what that percentage is like for the rest of the league, but I would be willing to bet Chuck Hernandez’s left kidney that it’s a good deal higher than 28%.

BUT WAIT, IT GETS BETTER.

Of those 11 quality starts, the Tigers have won only 6. PRACTICALLY HALF THE TIME THEY GET A QUALITY START OUT OF THEIR PITCHER, THEY BLOW THE GAME ANYWAYS. No freakin’ wonder this team has only won 16 bloody games.

Also: there have only been 5 times, in the 40 games we’ve seen so far, where the Tigers have scored more than 3 runs and still lost the game. There have been 20 games where they’ve scored more than 3 runs. Obviously this is a logic thing– you score a load of runs, you’re much more likely to actually win the game– but what you’re looking at is another percentage telling you how ‘in synch’ the bats and the pitching are. At least 6 innings with 3 or fewer runs allowed is a quality outing for a pitcher; I’m roughly calling more than 3 runs scored a quality outing for the bats.

HALF the time the pitchers have a quality outing, the bats screw it up. A QUARTER of the time the bats have a quality outing, the pitching (starters or bullpen) screws it up.

Since the Tigs are averaging a ‘quality’ offensive outing 50% of the time, and are getting a ‘quality’ pitching performance 28% of the time, you could definitely argue that the starters are the largest source of trouble here. But when it comes to undermining their own teammates, the bats are certainly the bigger culprits.

Does it do any actual good to assign blame here? So the bats hate the pitchers more than the pitchers hate the bats: who cares? The point is that the Tigs are sitting unpretty at .400 and dead last in the division, 5 games back from the pitching-charmed if still un-PC-ly-mascotted Indians and 3.5 games behind the FREAKING ROYALS. Stab me in the FACE, that looks awful when you type it all out.

So no, it doesn’t ACTUALLY matter that the bats are dropping the proverbial ball when the pitching actually manages to give them a metaphorical ball to hold. But the first step to overcoming a problem is admitting you have a problem, and maybe if we can realize WHERE the problem is, it can be targeted and destroyed by, I don’t know, some sort of covert baseball coaching military mission.

Most of us have been saying that this can’t go on, not with this lineup, the Tigers will hit hard and often soon enough, etc. How long can they keep doing this? There are GOOD HITTERS in this lineup, LOTS of them.

But look at poor Verlander, with his 1-and-7 record. Opposing teams have scored 37 earned runs off of him in his 9 starts. He’s not exactly averaging a quality start every time he comes out. But the Tigers have scored 20 runs in games he’s pitched (and 10 of those came in 1 game, so it’s really like they’ve scored only 10 runs for 8 of his starts). They have scored more than 3 runs in games that he started exactly twice. When Justin goes 5.2 innings and gives up 6 runs it is for sure his fault, but what about the game where he pitched 6 with only 1 earned run, or even a game where he went 7 and gave up 4?

That’s not his fault. That’s the fault of the Lineup That Should turning into the Lineup That Inexplicably Can’t.