Monday, October 09, 2006

Playoff Preview: Tigers Versus Athletics

Both the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics are coming off surprisingly easy first round wins. The Tigers topped the heavily favored Yankees 3 games to 1 and the Athletics swept the Twins. Both teams played well in all phases of the game in the first round. The Tigers won the season series 5-4 and Billfer takes a detailed look at that in his Detroit Tiger Weblog. Much like my first round preview, my second round preview will focus on regular season team statistics along with a few other items:

Hot players in First Round:

Tigers

  • Carlos Guillen - 8 for 14, 3 doubles and a home run
  • Curtis Granderson – 5 for 17, 2 home runs and 5 RBI
  • Placido Polanco – 7 for 17
  • Sean Casey – 6 for 17
  • Kenny Rogers – 7 2/3 IP, 0 runs
  • Jeremy Bonderman – 8 1/3 IP 2 runs

Athletics

  • Frank Thomas - 5 for 10, 2 home runs
  • Marco Scutaro – 4 for 12, 4 doubles and 6 RBI
  • Nick Swisher – 3 for 10, 2 doubles and 2 walks
  • Barry Zito – 8 Ip , 1 run


Injuries:

Tigers - None

Athletics

  • Bobby CrosbyStill out with back injury. Marco Scutaro is playing shortstop. Crosby might be back at some point but the Athletics are not counting on it.

  • Mark Ellis – Out for season with broken finger. D’Angelo Jimenez is playing second base.

  • Rich Harden – His elbow is healthy and he’s well rested. He will likely start game 4.


Regular Season Overview



Tigers

Athletics

Record

95-67

93-69

Head to Head

5

4

Runs per game

5.1

4.8

Runs allowed per game

4.2

4.5


Both teams rely a lot more on run prevention than run production. The Tigers have the edge in both areas finishing 1st in run prevention and 5th in run production. The Athletics finished 4th in run prevention and 9th in run production. It should be noted that the A’s likely would have allowed fewer runs than they did if they had a healthy Rich Harden all season.


Offense



Tigers

Athletics


Rate

Rank

Rate

Rank

BA

.274

9

.260

13

BB/G

2.65

13

4.01

2

Isolated power

.174

4

.152

9

OBP

.329

12

.340

7

SLG

.449

5

.412

13

OPS

.777

7

.752

11


Like most Billy Beane teams, the Athletics draw a lot of walks – 2nd in the league. Unfortunately for them, that is the only thing they do well offensively as the don’t hit for average (13th) or power (9th). The Athletics’ offense revolves around Frank Thomas (.270/.381/.545) and Nick Swisher (.254/.372/.493).


The Tigers, on the other hand, do not draw many walks (13th in the league) but they do hit for good power (4th). The Tigers are led by Carlos Guillen (.320/.400/.519) and Magglio Ordonez (.298/.350/.477). Where the Tigers have the edge is line-up depth. While the Athletics have 5 hitters in the regular line-up (Jay Payton, Jason Kendall, Mark Kotsay, Marco Scutaro and D’Angelo Jimenez) with sub-.750 OPS, the Tigers have just 2: Placido Polanco and Sean Casey.


Pitching


Tigers

Athletics


Rate

Rank

Rate

Rank

FIP

4.36

3

4.44

5

ERA

3.84

1

4.21

4


The FIP ERA indicates that the two teams might not be as far apart in pitching as they are in overall run prevention. If you go by ERA, the Tigers look to have a significantly better staff but the closeness in FIP indicates that fielding may have something to do with it.


The Tigers go into the series with a starting staff of Nate Robertson, Justin Verlander, Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman versus the Athletics quartet of Barry Zito, Esteban Loaiza, Dan Haren and Rich Harden. Since Loaiza had a 4.89 ERA and Harden’s durability is still somewhat questionable, the Tigers have the edge here.


Both teams have pretty strong bullpens. It will be Todd Jones, Joel Zumaya, Fernando Rodney and Jamie Walker for the Tigers versus Huston Street, Justin Duchscherer and Kiko Calero for the Athletics. They look pretty evenly matched there.


Defense


Tigers

Athletics


Rate

Rank

Rate

Rank

DER

.704

1

.690

7

HBT Fielding

+56

1

-22

8

HBT Ground

+74

1

-6

6

HBT Air

-18

13

-15

12


Fielding is harder to measure but the Tigers appear to have the edge over the Athletics defensively as the two teams are #1 and #7 respectively in defensive efficiency. The Hardball Times looks at types of balls hit (ground ball, fly ball, pop up, line drive) in an attempt to break down DER further. These stats are explained further in an article by Dave Studeman. They indicate that the Tigers superior defense seems to be primarily due to fielding grounders while their ability to catch balls in their air is not very good. I find this breakdown very interesting and I want to research this further in the off-season.

Predictions

The Athletics have the homefield advantage in the series but the Tigers have the edge (although not a huge one) in all phases of the game. It should be a pitching oriented series but the Tigers offensive depth will help them win the series in 6 games. I’ll pick Carlos Guillen to be the big hitter (that’s getting easier to do all the time) and Jeremy Bonderman as the best pitcher. I pick Bonderman because he tends to pitch his dominant games in bunches and he’s coming off a gem.

1 comment:

  1. I've been crunching stats all day. Nice work. Hope you don't mind me linking to you site. -b

    ReplyDelete

Sabermetrics Book

Sabermetrics Book
One of Baseball America's top ten books of 2010

Blog Archive

Subscribe

501 Baseball Books

501 Baseball Books
Recommended by Tiger Tales

Stat Counter

Site Meter