Monday, July 13, 2009

Tigers Playing Better All Around at Home

Kevin, one of my readers, left a comment asking me what I thought about the Tigers extreme home/road split so far this season. They are 27-13 at home and 21-26 on the road. That 9 1/2 game difference is the biggest in the American League central and third best in the league behind the Red Sox and Rays.

I broke down their home/road differences by offense, pitching and fielding using split stats from ESPN.COM. The offensive comparison is shown in Table 1 below. You can see that the Tigers have scored 5.6 runs per game at home versus 4.1 on the road and that they are doing better at home by every important offensive statistic.

Table 1: Tigers Offense - Home and Away

Stat

Home

Away

Runs Per Game

5.6

4.1

Batting Average

.276

.245

OBP

.353

.307

Slugging

.456

.395

OPS

.809

.701


Run prevention at home and away is shown in Table 2. Their pitching differential at home (3.9) versus on the road (4.9) is not as wide as the offensive split but one run per game is a lot. Their superior pitching at home is seen in their strikeouts (7.5 per nine innings at home versus 6.8 on the road) and home runs (0.9 versus 1.2).

There is no easy way to look at their home/away fielding split directly but the last row of Table 2 gives us a clue. DIPS% is the ratio between the predicted ERA based on walks, strikeouts and home runs and their actual ERA. Their 120 ratio at home indicates their predicted ERA is 20% higher than their actual ERA. This suggests that their fielding at home has been very strong and has helped their ERA substantially. Conversely, the 97 ratio on the road says that their predicted ERA is 3% less than their actual ERA. Thus, it does not appear that their ERA has been influenced unduely by fielding on the road as it has been at Comerica.

Table 2: Tigers Run Prevention - Home and Away

Stat

Home

Away

Runs Per Game

3.9

4.9

BB/ 9 IP

3.9

3.8

K/ 9 IP

7.5

6.8

HR/ 9 IP

0.9

1.2

OPS

.706

.785

DIPS%

120

97


In conclusion, the Tigers are doing much better at home in all phases of the game - hitting, pitching and fielding. I don't know that their team is necesarily constructed for Comerica Park. It may be that they feel more confident at Comerica or they might just be catching teams at the right time at home. If it's not just a fluke and they continue their home dominance, then that is good news because they have more home games (41) than road games the rest of the way (34).

In an unrelated note, J. Ellet Lambie has a good article on the history of Tigers in the home run derby up at Eye of the Tigers.

Also, just up now is Billfer's article on his day behind the scenes at Fox Sports. It was a great experience for him and a must read article for all Tigers television viewers.

5 comments:

  1. That last road trip messed up the Tigers splits too a bit, though hard saying why. They were 18-20 on the road -- not bad really -- before going 3-6 during the nine-day stand.

    Be interesting to know whether the length of the road trip influences how a team does on it, like if you do a couple of nine day trips, do you do worse than if they were divided into 6 day road trips?

    Sample will never be that big in a single season of course, but I am curious if it matters or doesn't.

    ReplyDelete
  2. AnonymousJuly 14, 2009

    Hi Lee:

    I remember when CoPa "National Park" was built there was talk about how the Tigers would do better with left handed batters because of park dimensions - this was of course before they moved the bullpen and brought the left field in. Do you think that the Tigers are playing to some extent a home field advantage based upon park advantage? Or is this simply a matter of luck? Or defence? Or?..

    BTW, I know you are working on a book. Good luck with that, as I know what a difficult endeavor this is. Put me down on Amazon for a copy when you're ready. Go Tigers!

    --Kevin

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kevin, Comerica has been a fairly neutral park since they moved in the fences so I'm not entirely sure what kind of team would succeed there or why this team would do better than past teams. My guess is that they are simply playing the right teams at the right time at home this year. Looking at individual players, Verlander, Cabrera, Polanco and Laird have all done particularly well at home.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Also, thanks for the encouragement on the book. The content is all in place but there is still a lot of editing to be done. The primary theme of the book is to explain and tie together many of the statistics which have been developed in recent years.

    Lee

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