Battle of the ex-contenders

DMZ · May 19, 2008 at 8:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

As I try not to dwell on the fact that the M’s just sent Clement down so they could hand the DH spot to someone hitting even worse than Clement, I was looking ahead to this week and another collapsed season. The M’s face the Tigers on Tuesday. The Tigers have an even worse record than they do. Both teams were widely expected to contend, the Tigers more so than the M’s. And yet they’re much different.

So as I compared the Padres to the M’s, check this out:
Batting average: .259 Tigers, .248 Mariners
OBP: .336 Tigers, .306 Mariners
SLG: .406 Tigers, .383 Mariners

The Tigers offense is well above average even just looking at their raw stats.

Where they’ve really fallen down is the pitching. It’s right there with the M’s. Here’s the problem with this upcoming series, though:
Game 1: Silva v Verlander
Game 2: Washburn v Rogers
Game 3: Batista v Bonderman

We’re out our good starters.

It’s strange, though — seeing the Tigers show up in the top couple of teams in all the tasty rate stats, it’s jarring to see their place in the standings. Looking at BP’s Adjusted Standings, for instance, check out the “EQR/EQRA” line, which is based on runs scored/allowed based on their hitting stats, and they’re 20-23, three games up (the M’s gain .6 this way).

That’s a lot of bad luck. I hope the M’s can coast past before Detroit wakes up.


28 Responses to “Battle of the ex-contenders”

  1. Bodhizefa on May 19th, 2008 8:28 am

    Every game I’ve watched with Detroit this year, they’ve made at least a couple boneheaded plays on defense that have cost them. Miguel Cabrera was awful at third base and he’s just as awful at first, too. And Carlos Guillen has been equally awful in both positions he’s played, too. Add in that Placido Polanco hasn’t been his normal excellent defensive self and that Granderson was gone for a month and it’s a bit easier to understand why the “pitching” has been so bad. If Sheffield doesn’t turn things around in the next few weeks or so, I think I’d put Carlos Guillen at the DH spot, insert Inge and his awesome defense at the hot corner, and bench Shef. And somewhere down the line, I’d contemplate moving Miguel Cabrera back to the outfield because he is costing them a ton of runs with his ineptitude at first. I think that’s a better line-up for the Tigers, honestly.

  2. jspektor on May 19th, 2008 8:28 am

    That is a good point, Detroit is wayyyy overdue to snap out of its run of mediocrity. Couple breaks here and there ….

    Let’s just hope the M’s can somehow (although with the bruise two – wash/miggy – hope is bleak) string a few wins together.

    hope might a strong word

  3. fetish on May 19th, 2008 8:40 am

    The Tigers need more veteran presence.

  4. galaxieboi on May 19th, 2008 8:52 am

    Cabrera’s RZR @ 1st is .714. That’s not good, but he’d be in the middle of the pack for AL first basemen this year if he qualified. In fact, both he and Guillen have the same RZR @ 1st. They’ve both been awful at 3rd.

    The Tigers knew they were getting a guy with whom defense was a secondary skill to say the least. Miquel’s problem is that he hasn’t hit worth a s*** (for him) this year). .824 OPS, 7 HRs and a LD% of only 12.5. His BABIP is down from around .350-.360 to .298.

  5. Dave on May 19th, 2008 9:17 am

    Bonderman and Verlander have sucked this year. Both are way down in velocity, and I’m not sure either one is healthy.

  6. et_blankenship on May 19th, 2008 9:21 am

    Bonderman and Verlander have sucked this year. Both are way down in velocity, and I’m not sure either one is healthy.

    Agree 100%.

  7. okobojicat on May 19th, 2008 9:23 am


    Verlander has thrown 120/180 (+20 postseason)/201 innings the past three years. Is his arm just worn out?

    I think Bonderman is hurt, he motion just looks different. But Verlander seems an odd one to be losing so much velocity. It is like 4-5 mph isn’t it?

  8. Colm on May 19th, 2008 9:34 am

    Do you have that correct? A .742 OPS for the 2008 Tigers is not well above average. According to The Hardball Times “for 2007 league average OPS was .753”.

  9. scraps on May 19th, 2008 9:35 am

    If you sit Gary Sheffield, don’t you pretty much have to cut him? Like Frank Thomas, he’ll make a big stink if he’s benched.

  10. shortbus on May 19th, 2008 9:44 am

    Even with Verlander and Bonderman having off years, or being injured, or whatever…we come in with our worst three pitchers. Our crappy offense against their crappy pitching will not beat their good offense against our crappy pitching.

    I just hope to win one of these three. And if both teams were playing up to expectations, that’s all you could hope for when you put up your 3-4-5 pitchers and are playing on the road. Hopefully they’ll skip Bad-tista and we’ll get a Bedard start in there…but I’m not counting on it.

  11. galaxieboi on May 19th, 2008 9:52 am

    Do you have that correct? A .742 OPS for the 2008 Tigers is not well above average. According to The Hardball Times “for 2007 league average OPS was .753″.

    This year the league average is .723. And the Tiger’s OPS is .751. Only Boston and Texas have a higher team OPS.

  12. jro on May 19th, 2008 10:27 am

    Is it me, or does it seem like every team is using the M’s this year to get things rolling? That first Orioles series, the Rangers (twice now), and the Tigers are overdue to snap out of it.

    I just have a bad feeling about this series.

  13. fret_24 on May 19th, 2008 10:37 am

    I kind of hope they bench Sheff, just so we all get to see what he has to say about it. In that scenario wouldn’t you move Cabrera to DH instead of Guillen? Guillen gives you better defense at first…even if he didn’t play so well there earlier in the year.

  14. joser on May 19th, 2008 10:47 am

    Is it me, or does it seem like every team is using the M’s this year to get things rolling?

    It is just you… and fans of every other bad team, every year, who see this happen. Even mediocre teams beat up bad teams, and if they’d been playing actually good teams prior to that….

  15. jspektor on May 19th, 2008 11:21 am

    14 – Good thing we are starting our stint against very bad teams. We should be in for smooth sailing until the AS break. WOOOOOOO

  16. pygmalion on May 19th, 2008 11:22 am

    Does anyone know what the avowed motive for never skipping the fifth starter is?

    I like the fact that the M’s watch pitch counts, but I hope that they don’t cling to this through the mistaken belief that it will actually improve the health of the rotation. AFAIK there is no evidence that doing this (or following the five-man rotation at all, but that’s another story) helps pitchers stay healthy, except in the sense that pitchers are less likely to get injured if they aren’t pitching – in which case, why not have Felix and Bedard never pitch? They’d never get injured (unless while moving Samsonite luggage).

  17. pygmalion on May 19th, 2008 11:24 am

    When I say that I hope that the M’s “don’t cling to this,” by “this” I mean “the policy of always using the fifth starter,” not the immediately preceding topic, the policy of watching pitch counts.

  18. jlc on May 19th, 2008 1:00 pm

    What about Washburn? Didn’t they just skip one of his starts? And the Mariners’ page Thursday game has no probable pitcher listed, though Batista is listed after Silva for Wed., and Bedard for Friday. Did I miss a major injury announcement?

  19. fargomsfan on May 19th, 2008 1:01 pm

    You all know how this works… Time to start Detroit’s World Series run with a 3-game sweep of the M’s by a combined score of 30-2. Pray it doesn’t happen, then watch us attempt to pitch. I am one of little faith…

  20. manifestus on May 19th, 2008 2:25 pm

    I know this is me being somewhat obnoxious, but by Padres you mean Tigers right? 😛

  21. Joe on May 19th, 2008 2:29 pm

    No, he means “just as I compared the M’s and Padres prior to their recent series, I will now compare the M’s and the Tigers.”

  22. jspektor on May 19th, 2008 2:33 pm

    On the bright side, we only need 4 more games to complete our first of five 6 game winning streaks.

  23. Breadbaker on May 19th, 2008 5:12 pm

    The story of the Tigers’ off-season is just a couple of degrees more intense than the Mariners’, but in retrospect, there is a lot of the same stuff going on. They mortgaged their future for a present (although Cabrera and Willis are still young), and way underestimated the effects of aging on a number of players.

    It’s funny how teams always seem to think some players will “bounce back” (hello, Richie), but then always just pencil in players who played better than expected (hello, Turbo) for the same performance again. Pudge, Guillen, Rogers, Sheffield and Ordonez: was there any rational scenario where less than three of them was going to collapse this year? Maggs is hitting okay, but not at the stratospheric levels of last year. Renteria isn’t a kid anymore. Todd Jones was running on fumes all last year anyway and is like 65 years old.

    While no one expected Bonderman and Verlander to suck (and who had Felix and Bedard at a combined 5-6?), this Tigers team has more in common with the 1973 Tigers (and the 2004 Mariners) than it does with a pennant-winning club.

  24. Tuomas on May 19th, 2008 5:55 pm

    They mortgaged their future for a present

    I take issue with that line. Miguel Cabrera is 25 years old and has put up a 150+ OPS+ every year for the last three seasons. This guy isn’t an aging veteran; he’s an MVP-level talent who’s just now begining to enter his prime.

  25. PaulMolitorCocktail on May 19th, 2008 6:41 pm



  26. dlb on May 19th, 2008 6:56 pm

    Have to root for Lester. That was awesome. I hate continuing the OT, but [deleted, continuing the OT]

  27. Joe on May 19th, 2008 9:12 pm

    Can’t fight it

  28. north on May 20th, 2008 12:00 pm

    The Tigers illustrate that the Ms have company in overstocking with 1B/DH type players.

    The Tigers, Indians and White Sox are choked up with too many expensive players with “DH/1B” defensive skills. (The Yankees also have this problem but this is a central division post.)

    Twins management is laughing again. (Not that the Twins get it right every year, but they won’t risk getting stuck with expensive non-bopping big boppers that have no secondary skills.)

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