SkeptiSys

April 7, 2008

Can the Detroit Tigers turn around their slow start?

Filed under: News, Sports — Tags: , , , , — skeptisys @ 11:47 am

Ee-Yah!  Hughie Jennings Detroit Tigers.

The Detroit Tigers have been one of baseball’s most successful teams over the past 2 seasons, winning 183 games and one league championship.  This past offseason, they got stronger, adding peak performing Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to their already very strong lineup and pitching staff.  Many experts predicted the playoffs for the 2008 Tigers. Instead, the Tigers have started the season 0-6, the Tigers first 6 game losing streak since 2005.  Can they turn it around, or are they really this bad a team?

After looking at the evidence, I believe that luck is the major contributor to the Tigers’ poor start, and they can turn it around.  Here is the evidence pointing to a possible turnaround:

1) Tigers have slightly outperformed their record.  Their expected won/loss based on their run differential is 1-5, rather than 0-6 – and that is skewed by one blowout loss.

2) A team can lost 6 in a row and make the playoffs.  Just last season, the Yankees lost 7 in a row at one point – but ended up winning 94 games and making the playoffs.

3) Their runs allowed (39) are due, to a large part, by luck.  Only 62% of base runners have been left on base, by far the worst in the league.  An average performance could result in 10 fewer runs.

4) Their batting .149 with runners in scoring position (RISP). This also will improve due to regression to the mean.

5) Their underperforming players can reasonably be expected to perform much better over the course of the season.  Cabrera and Ordonez have been horrible this season, but were expected to be MVP candidates and have been in th past.  Six poor games does not change that.  The pitcher’s have been walking too many, also reasonably expected to improve based on anticipated performance.

I fully expect the 2008 Tigers to get back into the pennant race, if they keep their confidence.  Six games is too small a number to make a significant conclusion.  Don’t write them out just yet.

Ee-Yah!

3 Comments »

  1. As much as I’d like to believe the standings from the first two weeks will look something like the standings come October, I fear that the mean old regression monster in conspiring against my Balmer Orioles as I type this.

    The Tiggers should be fine, though I’m sorry that the D-Train will be out of commission for awhile. Nelson Simmons is still tearing up the San Diego Adult Baseball League. Too bad he can’t pitch.

    Comment by Allen Wigger — April 14, 2008 @ 10:21 pm

  2. I feel your pain as an Oriole fan – no above .500 seasons since Davey Johnson. (only 7 years for post DJ Mets. The worst part of being an Oriole fan is the long Boog BBQ lines!
    I still think the Adam Jones trade will pay off in the end for the O’s.

    Comment by skeptisys — April 15, 2008 @ 11:40 am

  3. Interesting thing about that Adam Jones deal:

    It was stuck in limbo for weeks after Seattle yanked Jones from winter ball, as rumors trickled out that Jones might have a degenerative hip condition. (After the Albert Belle fiasco, the Orioles owner wasn’t going throught that again.)

    Now, here we are in the third week of the 2008 season, and Erik Bedard has already been scratched from two starts because of a sore hip. Hmmmmmm…

    Comment by urbanshocker — April 15, 2008 @ 11:51 am


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