Friday, 28 July 2017

2017 Tigers Game 100: in tertia, campanam anulerunt

This blog had its origins in a season I spent following the 2009 Washington Nationals for a time. I was doing an MA in Ontario, and the sacking of Jim Bowden just as spring training began drew my attention to a train wreck about to happen. Despite the horror story that unfolded that spring and summer, I had a lot of fun playing around with the data.

So after 100 games, it feels as if the Tigers are worse than my memory of the 2009 Washington Nationals because of two recent blow-outs against Kansas City.

I decided to check.

On record alone, there's no contest.

2017 Tigers 45-55
2009 Nationals 32-68

It was at about this point that my engagement with the 2009 Nationals would end, as I was about to travel back to England to spend August with my wife and daughters. The 2009 Nationals would 'improve' in the sense that they would finish 27-35, or a .435 winning percentage against a .320 winning percentage after 100 games. The Tigers' current .450 winning percentage is better than either.

But, of course, the Tigers have been getting beaten in blow-outs you know, that's why this feels worse.

Let's see how that stacks up. The definition of a blow-out is a defeat by five runs or more.

Through 100 games in 2009, the Nationals had lost sixteen such games.

The 2017 Tigers have lost... sixteen such games. But, in fairness, that's a higher percentage of losses (29 per cent to the 2009 Nationals' 23.5 per cent). Some of that has to be down to the DH rule increasing run-scoring. How much? I dunno and I don't think I care. Someone could either deduct one from all the Tigers' losses or add one to the 2009 Nationals' losses to get a vague idea, I would think.

So, possibly it's the proximity of two such heavy defeats by the Royals in the past two weeks. And here I think I am going to be critical of the Tigers' management.

On 20th July, the Tigers played very badly in the first inning of a Michael Fulmer start. They then recovered some ground as Chad Bell pitched 2 1/3rd innings of solid long relief. However, in the third inning of his stint the Royals handled Bell's offerings quite roughly.

On 26th July, the Tigers kept the game within reach through six, in no small part due to 2 1/3rd innings of solid long relief from Chad Bell. Bell comes out for the third inning and BOOM, he gets cracked like his cousin Liberty Bell giving up four hits and a hit-by-pitch putting the game almost out of reach. (Warwick Saupould would come on after Bell had hit Alex Gordon and make sure of that.)

Letting the same thing happen within a week strikes me as some inattentive management, but I'm just some humble blogger. I am very supportive of Brad Ausmus as a manager, but in this case the fault is plainly his.

Of course, there are other issues, such as Mikie Mahtook getting doubled off first by Jorge Bonifacio or the aforementioned fielding disaster on 20th July in which I'm not sure I have enough fingers to point at the culprits.

But Wednesday night's bell-ringing could have been anticipated simply by remembering what happened last time.

No comments: