Tigers Vacation to Boston, Discover Sights, Score Runs…Lose Baseball Game

 I was going to make a joke about Clay Buchholz, Chicken, and being headless, but I decided against it. I’m not sure why, it might have something to do with not wanting to use, once again, an overplayed joke, or maybe it’s just a plain refusal to post any sort of tacky headline on this fine site (okay, stop laughing). Okay, it probably had more to do with the fact that the Tigers lost and Buchholz certainly didn’t look like a piece of fried chicken with his head cut off. Okay, fine, its because it was dumb and literally makes no sense. Bite me for wanting to reference fried chicken every time I write about the Red Sox in any sort of capacity.

In a way, we’ve come to the point in the year where there isn’t much to analyze, to be quite honest. I’ve talked about this before, last week in fact, but it has to be true since I haven’t thought of anything else to talk about in the second paragraph of this wrap. Ok, well I did, but that was just filler, and a point. Point Filler. maybe that should be a feature on here where I have a point and in order to make it more dramatic, write an entire post about bullshit and in the end lead into another post where real analysis is done. Wait. Seriously? You’re still reading this? Come on. Go outside and throw a ball around instead of reading – at this point a 125 word paragraph on literally and absolutely nothing – this horse manure. If you’re still reading, now is the point I talk about Nick Castellanos.

Nick Castellanos! Holy crap! This guy is the most hyped offensive prospect the Tigers have had since…well who? Craig Monroe? Bobby Higginson? (I’m joking. I’m sorry.) Well, I don’t know, so I decided to go to twitter and ask the guys who are on twitter (if you’re not on twitter, you were not able to participate in this poll and therefore have no opinion) for their opinion.

Here is my tweet:

Here are the results:

Cameron Maybin, 19

Gabe Kapler, 5

Chris Pittaro, 4

Jeff Larish, 3

Travis Fryman, 3

Eric Munson, 3

Brandon Inge, 2

The Last One, 2

The Tigers have had one?, 1

Matt Nokes, 1

Jacob Turner, 1

Kirk Gibson, 1

Ramon Santiago, 1

Danny Worth, 1

Quintin Berry, 1

Curtis Pride, 1

Cale Iorg, 1

Torey Lovullo, 1

Rick Leach, 1

Mike Laga, 1

Okay, seriously some of you need help.

I bring all this up because Nick Castellanos was at Fenway Park on Monday night for the game. No not to play! To watch! His Double-A Erie team, the Sea Wolves, had a day off and he and another good looking player (baseball wise! stop it!), Avisail Garcia, attended the game because, well if you were a baseball player in the minor leagues and had a day off (after having finished a four game series against the Richmond Flying Squirrels) and the major league team was in the area, you would head north from Erie, PA and go to the baseball game as well. Sheesh. Of course, only two of them (that we know of!) attended, so that’s obviously a small sample and everyone else was probably at the movies watching the Dark Knight Rises.

Anyway, so while I was busy working on all of that the first inning happened. Austin Jackson led off the game with a solo home run, which people tell me is quite significant. To which I retort, it’s about as significant as looking at RBI totals for a player in any given year: it’s a counting stat. It provides a run for the good guys but just because he leads off game with a bomb doesn’t mean it’s any more special than if he hits one in the fourth inning.

I’m sorry that was baseless and mean, but I have a legitimate excuse. As I was writing that Max Scherzer, pitching for the Tigers by the way, was in the middle of a 23 pitch first inning and gave the 1-0 lead right back. I’m not sure how it happened, I wasn’t watching and if you really want the play by play of an opposing team scoring runs, well I won’t support such hypocrisy! (Okay, okay, Scherzer walked the leadoff batter for Boston, Jacoby Ellsbury, then gave up a triple to Carl Crawford and a ground ball RBI to Dustin Pedrioa. He finished the inning by striking out Adrian Gonzalez and Will Middlebrooks.)

The second inning was rather fruitless for both sides (the Tigers offense saw five pitches). Omar Infante made an error and everyone overacted, and then Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the batter who reached on the leadoff error, attempted to steal second which was laughable and funny but everyone on twitter ruined it because they were busy complaining about the Infante error.

Now, I’ll choose to complain about something meaningful and legitimate. Of course, everyone has complained about this all year, but I find myself constantly returning to this situation because the situation bats fifth and seemingly makes more outs than any other batter in the lineup. It’s also because the Red Sox walked Prince Fielder to load the bases with one out in the third inning to pitch to Young, and he did exactly what the Red Sox needed him to do. He hit into the rally killing, inning ending double play.

Delmon Young seems like a useless player. You know why? Because of the eye test. Stats don’t tell Young’s true story. After that third inning debauchery, Young still had only hit into 9 double plays this year, that’s not the most in baseball (that award actually belongs to Miguel Cabrera, with 20) but it certainly feels like he hits into more of them. Perhaps it’s because they come in more high leverage situations, when the team needs a hit the most? I don’t know, honestly, but it’s most likely a combination of a number of things. The fact that he hasn’t hit a home run with runners in scoring position?

I find myself confused because of this stat authored by him:

Split PA H 2B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip tOPS+
Tie Game 88 19 2 2 9 .224 .239 .318 .556 .239 60
Ahead 156 38 4 6 18 .253 .282 .400 .682 .276 96
Behind 140 39 9 3 15 .307 .350 .449 .799 .364 131

However, Young’s WAR this year is -0.8 which is simply horrible given the place he bats in the lineup.

This is where stats make no sense. The table above says he’s a valuable member of the team, especially when the team is behind, his WAR says he produces worse than a replacement level DH would, and the eye test is simply a catastrophic failure.

Delmon Young simply defies baseball. He makes baseball make even less sense than it already makes (which is little).

However, Young wasn’t the worst member of the team on Monday, though he was the worst offensive performer. The worst total contributor was Max Scherzer who pitched well, but the game unraveled for him as the night grew older.

After Young’s double play, the score was 2-2 and remained that way until the bottom of the sixth inning. Scherzer walked Crawford and lobbed a balloon right down the middle of the plate to Dustin Pedroia, who deposited it in the outfield bleachers for a 4-2 Sox lead.

In the top half of the seventh, the Tigers made it 4-3 thanks to a dropped third strike on Brennan Boesch by the Sox catcher, Kelly Shoppach. Alex Avila, the Tigers catcher made him pay for his error by doubling Boesch home.

However, in the bottom half of thinning, Shoppach…probably one of the slowest guys in the league mind you…tripled into the triangle in center and scored on an Ellsbury single to make it 5-3.

After that, Scherzer came out of the game and walked up to Justin Verlander in the dugout.

Max: Justin, how do you master the art of pitching?

Justin: /does not speak.

Max: Please Justin? I must know. I always seem to fail in situations I should dominate. How do you do it?

Justin: /silently hands him four bags of Taco Bell

Max: Eat now? I already pitched.

Justin: Save till next time.

Max: /saves for four full days.

Max: /eats bags of Taco Bell on fifth day, mere minutes before he is scheduled to start

Max: Uggggggghhhhhhh

Max: /throws up violently

Duane Below starts in his place

Justin: When you can eat that without puking, you will achieve the ultimate pitching bliss

Editor’s Note: this may or may not have happened.

Phil Coke entered the game and finished the seventh without issue. However, in the eighth, because Jim Leyland likes to just keep his relievers in games until they give up a run rather than pitch Darin Downs, allowed Gonzalez to single to right and then gave up a home run to Will Middlebrooks to make it 7-3, which ended up being the final score despite Delmon Young walking and Brennan Boesch singling in the top of the ninth.

Jhonny Peralta, who hasn’t exactly had the best season, hit into his own double play and Avila struck out to end the game.

When I think about what to take away from this game I have to shrug my shoulders. The defense didn’t cost the team anything significant, the offense was controlled by an effective Clay Buchholz, and the game was close until the last third of the contest. Young’s failure in the third inning was the Tigers big chance to break the score open, but there was very little offense from anyone else.

I’ll take this one at face value and enjoy Justin Verlander in Fenway Park tomorrow evening.

  • http://twitter.com/TTownTiger T-Town Tiger Blog

    The conversation between Max and JV was fantastic. You are absolutely right about baseball making no sense, and because of the fact that I watch every Tigers game, I can also agree that Delmon Young has been a lot worse than his stats show. I was doing some research for an article and when I looked at Delmon’s stats, he would seem to be having just an average season, nothing more, nothing less. Is there such thing as a stat for clutch hits, or was that something that Rod made up to show how good Prince and Miggy are?

    • http://www.walkoffwoodward.com/ Josh Worn

      Fake conversations are the fuel that drive good blogs.

    • http://www.walkoffwoodward.com/ Josh Worn

      Better players are going to be more clutch than bad players. If there is a big gap between a players plate appearances with no one on and plate appearances with runners on, its usually a anomaly that evens out over time.

  • http://twitter.com/BaconDrips Cameron Scott

    My Larish tweet was a joke. My god.

    • http://www.walkoffwoodward.com/ Josh Worn

      The whole thing was a joke. Well that was my goal and most people responded appropriately.

  • http://twitter.com/ARAlvarado13 Alex Alvarado

    Referring to the Delmon stats above: in situations where it’s a tie game (so 0-0 in the 1st, where we anticipate the commercial break), are those stats in the “behind” or “ahead” split? Or are those not figured in?

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