FanDuel - WFBC

July 13, 2006

MEET THE AMAZING TIGERS: It's about charisma, bonding: A good story to get the second-half of the season started. They're a team that actually has me rooting (to myself) for them to hold on and make a good playoff run!

posted by dyams to baseball at 09:52 AM - 45 comments

If they play just .500 ball the rest of the way they finish with 96 wins. And they play the Royals another ten freaking times. So basically, it would take a series of high-profile murders to keep them out of at least the Wild Card. I still think they're playing way the hell over their heads, though. That line-up isn't scary and those pitchers should start regressing toward the mean. And Todd Jones is pure shit. You don't want that to be the end of your bullpen come October.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:04 AM on July 13

If they play just .500 ball the rest of the way they finish with 96 wins. Is that as easy as it sounds? It seems every day I hear someone who already is counting the Tigers in the playoffs. While it looks really good, a team playing far below .500 ball isn't unheard of at all. Having Leyland at the helm may actually be the difference.

posted by dyams at 11:14 AM on July 13

Is that as easy as it sounds? For a team playing .650 ball with 13% of their remaining games left against the Royals? Yes. The math would suggest that they actually finish with 100+ wins. See the White Sox of last year for reference. Is it guaranteed? No - but it virtually is. No team in history has had such a first half and failed to make the playoffs (in the wild card era).

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:21 AM on July 13

Well...uh, the 4 best teams in baseball are in the AL...and sadly one of them will miss this year's postseason. Boston, New York, Chicago and Detroit are the top 4 (one of them will win the World Series this year...the AL is just that much better)...its so good that the 5th best team (Minnisota) is stuck in third place in their division...when they would be amongst the leaders of every other division in all of baseball... But anyways...Detroit could still win 96 games and miss this thing. I think Chicago can pull off taking that division...and don't discount Boston and New York...they're both playoff tested teams. All I have to say is it will be a nice race to October in the AL... As for the NL...who knows who will get first dibbs to be beaten...

posted by chemwizBsquared at 11:23 AM on July 13

Well...uh, the 4 best teams in baseball are in the AL...and sadly one of them will miss this year's postseason. Boston, New York, Chicago and Detroit are the top 4 wait why are the 4 best teams in the AL and why are the yankees in the top 4 dont the Mets have more wins

posted by sleepr at 11:48 AM on July 13

Weedy is right on with the bullpen analysis. Even if the Tigers only score 3 or 4 runs a game, in the playoffs you need your bullpen to secure that for you. I would rather see Zumaya pitch the ninth than Todd Jones, but Zumaya also doesn't have as much experience. I think the Yanks are going to be the odd team out come October. Too many injuries and not nearly enough starting pitching. Unless they start dealing like they usually do come the end of July.....

posted by sublime4390116 at 11:48 AM on July 13

Rob Parker of the Detroit News recently wrote one of the worst columns I have ever read on how the NL is better than the AL.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 11:54 AM on July 13

I would rather see Zumaya pitch the ninth than Todd Jones, but Zumaya also doesn't have as much experience. I think Jon Papelbon has put the lie to the theory that closers need experience (although I guess we'll see how that goes come October). For what it's worth, I would put the top four teams in the AL as DET, CHW, BOS and MIN (in that order) -- based on the way they're playing now, not overall record. Too bad the Twins got off to such a rocky start and are in such a strong division (and could you imagine a 1-2 punch of Santana and Liriano in the playoffs?). Toronto and NYY have plausible arguments for being in that list as well (in place of the Twins). I would probably slot the Mets in there after the Red Sox; they get dinged in my book for being in a weak-ass division.

posted by holden at 11:57 AM on July 13

I agree that the Yankees to me appear to be the odd man out. They have the worst starting pitching and the most injury trouble, and if they insist on holding onto their good prospects (which they should) they actually have less to trade with. Also, they seem more prone to a slide. I think Toronto passes them and makes things interesting for the Red Sox - but right now, the edge goes to the Sox. I think Detriot and Chicago are pretty much locks at this point. Minnesota would have to do something unprecedented to upset that cart. They'd have to play a close to .700 second half AND have one of those other teams play .400 or worse. I don't see how either of those things can happen - they're a top heavy team with 2 stud pitchers, and 2 stud hitters. I would also point Minny fans to their dismal road record and suggest that they are in fact worse than the Jays. If you take out their nifty winning streak - that's a sub .500 ball club. The West is anyone's game. Personally, I like the Angels and A's to battle it out in the end. Any of these teams in this division aren't even in the conversation for top six teams in their own league though. I bet that means this is the year that they make it in with a 85 wins and knock off the Tigers/White Sox/Red Sox. Just feels like it's time, no?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:21 PM on July 13

Is that as easy as it sounds? For a team playing .650 ball with 13% of their remaining games left against the Royals? Yes. The math would suggest that they actually finish with 100+ wins. The math suggests that if the Tigers really are a .670 team, then they are 99.91% likely to play .500 ball or better the rest of the way (win 37+ games in the remaining 74). The math also suggests that if the Tigers are a real .670 team, they have a 98.61% chance of winning 100 (or more) games this year (win 41+ games in the remaining 74).

posted by grum@work at 12:31 PM on July 13

I mean no disrespect to the Tigers. I love the pitching staff. But playing .650 for a half season does not preclude playing sub-.500 ball the rest of the way. We can skip the probability/ streak discussion and I'll just point out the 1996 Red Sox were an awful team in the first half and wound up at .525 by virtue of the best record in baseball in the second half. Didn't get them into the playoffs. On preview: grum, you deceptive little kitten, you don't believe they're a .670 team. Mainly because .670 teams come around once how many years?

posted by yerfatma at 12:37 PM on July 13

But playing .650 for a half season does not preclude playing sub-.500 ball the rest of the way. That's what keeps going through my mind. Looking at the first half, many thought these teams would be playing above .500 at this point: Atlanta (9 under); Philadelphia (7 under); Houston (3 under); Angels (2 under); and Cleveland (7 under). Does this team of relative unknowns have what it takes to continue producing, especially when the pressure builds (say they go on an extended losing streak). They had some guys who had HUGE first halfs, out of nowhere practically. If I knew right this minute the Yanks would definitely not make the playoffs, I'd jump right on the Tigers as my team I'd like to see advance. But sometimes when you're playing teams with nothing to lose (Royals), you press and it becomes a huge obstacle.

posted by dyams at 12:43 PM on July 13

But playing .650 for a half season does not preclude playing sub-.500 ball the rest of the way. Well, I don't believe the Tiggers finish playing .670 ball. But that doesn't matter. They've already played enough at that pace. If we imagine that it will take 95 wins to take the wild card then they have to go 36 and 38 over their last 74 games to get there. So: History and this season suggest that they will at least do this - but will likely do better than this. They don't have to play above .500 to make the playoffs. The other team(s) - Minny, NY and Toronto WILL have to play well above .600 to catch them even if they play below .500. The odds against the Tigers missing the playoffs are now very, very low. This all makes perfect sense in my mind. If you look at baseball history, this is usually the way it goes.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:59 PM on July 13

Have to agree...though the odds have been defied a few times over the years... The Houston Astros have been a strong second half team the past 4 seasons, posting crappy records before finally waking up and playing when July and August finally get here. This year could break that trend because Houston has a very flawed club this season...one so flawed that they could go either way in my mind. Look also at the 1995 Seattle Mariners and the California Angels. California led their division by 14 games in late August, yet was left out of the playoffs completely by the end of the season due to an epic collapse that coincided with an emerging Seattle squad and great pitching by Randy Johnson. And lastly, the New York Yankees of '95 get merit here too because in mid August this squad was a mess...and they took the Wild Card that year...course they ran into Seattle and lost the series, but hey, we're talking about epic comebacks right now... Now these are the 3 cases that stick in my mind...I can't really remember many others...(prolly cuz they never happened).

posted by chemwizBsquared at 01:15 PM on July 13

The odds against the Tigers missing the playoffs are now very, very low. According to Baseball Prospectus, the Tigers have a 93.65% chance of making the playoffs (based on a bunch of advanced metrics and schedule). Only the Mets (98.67%) have a better chance of making the playoffs.

posted by grum@work at 01:18 PM on July 13

They're only 1 game ahead of their Pythagorean expected wins, so it's not like they've been getting lucky. Other than being able to play KC 19 times.

posted by yerfatma at 02:10 PM on July 13

They're only 1 game ahead of their Pythagorean expected wins, so it's not like they've been getting lucky. Other than being able to play KC 19 times. Which is exactly what helped the White Sox last year. So maybe the Tigers have what it takes, including a little luck with the schedule.

posted by sublime4390116 at 02:21 PM on July 13

Other than being able to play KC 19 times Don't forget being able to feast on the weak NL Central as well. That definitely helped all of the AL Central teams in their chances to secure a better shot than the AL East and AL West at the AL wild-card. Heck, even the Royals went 10-8 against the NL Central!

posted by grum@work at 02:55 PM on July 13

Maybe but it wasn't like other NL divisions were much better. The NL East was a combined 32-52 The NL Central was a combined 31-62 The NL West was a combined 35-40 Also, there were only three teams in the entire NL who had interleague records that were at least .500. Plus, Tampa Bay went 11-7 in their interleague games. I think this year was a case of the AL being much more dominant than the NL across the board, not a case of the NL Central being overly weak. All stats taken from MLB.com

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 03:27 PM on July 13

Uh, maybe the AL Central is for real...that's why the NL Central was trounced like they were. I think that the ALCS is the World Series this year...but it should make for a lot of good games in the meantime. Chicago and Detroit are the class of MLB right now, while Boston, BOTH New York Squads and Minnisota bring up the rear amongst the top 6 teams in baseball... That's 3 of the top 6 teams in the AL Central...you want to know why Kansas City is so bad...look who they have to play 57 times a season....so naturally the NL Central struggled...

posted by chemwizBsquared at 03:50 PM on July 13

Pythagoras was a great mathematician. But he never watched baseball. And now he's dead. The Tigers outlook is even better when you consider that they're in the same division as the White Sox. With two dominant-looking teams on top of the division, it is far more likely that the Twins and Indians will weaken themselves by dumping their expiring contracts this month. Torii Hunter, Shannon Stewart, and Brad Radke are all (I believe) big contracts that end this season. The Indians have fewer because they are even younger, but I can see them dumping Paul Byrd and/or Ronny Belliard. It would certainly be surprising to see either team bulk up at this point. As for AL/NL superiority and the World Series -- interleague does not matter. All-Star Game is not an indicator. It is one team vs. one team in a seven-game series. If you think the AL is a shoe-in to win the World Series, talk to Tony LaRussa about team/league strength and odds of winning. He managed the 1990 A's, didn't he?

posted by BullpenPro at 03:54 PM on July 13

Kenny Rogers has had awful 2nd half seasons the last 2 years and the chances of Verlander running into a 2nd half wall are substantial. The schedule might mitigate those possibilities but barring a trade or two I see the Tigers as the AL Wild Card with the White Sox's taking that division. If the Yankees grab a big stick (Soriano) and add just a little pitching help they take the AL Wild Card. Just to throw it out there I've got Boston beating the Mets to win it all in 2006.

posted by skydivedad at 04:30 PM on July 13

So basically, it would take a series of high-profile murders to keep them out of at least the Wild Card. Bite your tongue, boy. Greg Maddux could be traded to Detroit at any minute. I would rather see Zumaya pitch the ninth than Todd Jones, but Zumaya also doesn't have as much experience. I honestly think that Leyland is playing possum with Zumaya, waiting for 137-year old Todd Jones to fall apart, and when he does, Zumaya takes the majority of save chances in the second half of the season. Two months (roughly) of somewhat high-pressure save opportunities heading into the playoffs would be a nice baptism by fire for the youngster. Plus, that Leyland is a sly old fart.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:33 PM on July 13

yanks just signed sydney ponson. the AL east is a lock now.

posted by goddam at 04:39 PM on July 13

Seriously? How does that fat fucker keep getting work? It's guys like him who are responsible for all those 80s movies where a good guy finally winds up with a hot chick. Because in the real world, fat, drunk and stupid and vicious can be a way to go through life. Successfully. With two dominant-looking teams on top of the division, it is far more likely that the Twins and Indians will weaken themselves by dumping their expiring contracts this month. Excellent point, though who does Cleveland on their roster who is expensive & a contributor? I think that the ALCS is the World Series this year I think that's been true since at least 2004. Until the NL can produce a rotation that can handle AL lineups, it may be true for a few more years. Horses who can strike guys out.

posted by yerfatma at 05:07 PM on July 13

As a long-suffering-until-recently-Red-Sox-fan I think you should make note of the fact that the Yankess have come back to win the division like every year since about 300 AD. Be prepared for George to go back to the bottomless pit of money and pull out a Willis, Maddox or a Soriano. Historically they have pulled the trigger on the deals that always left you saying hey that's not fair. I hate them, I hope that they lose every game but I wouldn't dismiss them just yet. Wait until the trade deadline and see what everyone looks like then.

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 05:16 PM on July 13

I think that's been true since at least 2004. Until the NL can produce a rotation that can handle AL lineups, it may be true for a few more years. Horses who can strike guys out. I think Houston's rotation last year could plausibly be placed in the category of a rotation that can handle AL lineups/horses who can strike guys out. Their top three of Clemens, Oswalt and Pettite struck out 7.3K/9, 6.3K/9, 6.4K/9, respectively, last year -- not outstanding, but above average and higher than the K/9 of the White Sox starters (only Contreras was higher than 6K/9). Let's face it, the World Series last year was a lot closer than the 4-0 sweep suggests.

posted by holden at 05:27 PM on July 13

And uh...how about this...Houston had the rotation that could have challenged Chicago (did anyone watch Brandon Backe's Game 4 effort...that was brilliant...too bad Brad Lidge forgot how to pitch after being Pojuled in the NLCS). The NL also lacks the kind of hitters necessary to hit the well tested AL pitchers. Those guys face 9 actual hitters...not the 8 plus pitcher that the NL has to worry about. Throw in the fact that in the NL, many teams sacrifice defense for offense...so there you have it. yanks just signed sydney ponson. the AL east is a lock now. That's the best the Yankees can do? Oh goodness, this is gonna be a long pennat race...

posted by chemwizBsquared at 05:29 PM on July 13

Rob Parker of the Detroit News recently wrote one of the worst columns I have ever read... Parker's favorite hobby is to piss people off, so I take everything he writes with a grain of salt. Personally, the only thing I like about interleague play is watching the AL pitchers try and swat a ball out of the park. As far as the Tigers' season, I (being a lifelong Tigers fan) am still waiting for the bottom to fall out. I have a permanent bruise that's turning an ugly greenish-yellow on my arm where I keep pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. If the Tigers even make the playoffs, I'll be happy. Anything else is just a bonus. I'll save my bitching for the Lions.

posted by wingnut4life at 05:38 PM on July 13

yanks just signed sydney ponson. the AL east is a lock now. You sign a fat has been and now your a lock thats fantastic

posted by sleepr at 05:44 PM on July 13

I was thinking that the sydney Ponson comment was dripping with sarcasm? Please tell me that you (goddam) don't think that this one ass-clown is going to solve their problems? Does this Ponson fellow play outfield? Or maybe they could teach him how to pitch? Perhaps with his Canseco like era he could replace Randy Johnson and Matsui?

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 05:53 PM on July 13

Come on. Who thinks she was being serious about some fat idiot who has more DUIs than complete games in the past few years being her team's salvation? That said, has anyone heard from David Wells? Boomer, are you there? It's me, yerfatma.

posted by yerfatma at 06:16 PM on July 13

oh sure, i'm dead serious. in fact, i'm hoping they scoop up ruben sierra. and hey, for some bullpen help, i think the run fairy is available too.

posted by goddam at 07:09 PM on July 13

Yeah wingnut, you and me both bubba! I've been pretty impressed with the Tiges though. Last year, they were finding ways to lose. This year, they're finding ways to win. I have more confidence in this years squad when they're down 3 going into the 9th than I had in last years squad if they were up 3. They still need to figure out how to consistently beat NY, Boston and Chicago, and I'd be really happy if they found someone dumb enough to give them some value for Todd Jones, but it's gonna be an interesting few months no matter what happens.

posted by ctal1999 at 07:55 PM on July 13

for some bullpen help . . . Shit's not funny, pendejo.

posted by The Run Fairy at 08:02 PM on July 13

ctal1999, it's all about the Rally Gum baby!

posted by wingnut4life at 08:28 PM on July 13

Yep! Nate's always startin' somethin'.

posted by ctal1999 at 08:33 PM on July 13

You know, there's a lot of discarding of the Yankees going on. Their top three starters have 29 wins at the All Star break. Only one other team has that -- yep, the Tigers. The broken down and finished Randy Johnson could easily wind up with 20 wins. And despite all their injuries, the Yankees are a 3-game series from sitting atop the AL East. Now, I'm a Yankee fan, but I try to put these things fairly into perspective -- the Yanks are on pace for 94 wins. This team is not "barely hanging on for a Wild Card slot" as some here seem to believe. pendejo I believe you mean "bullpendejo." (Hey, I wonder if that's my name in Spanish...)

posted by BullpenPro at 10:21 PM on July 13

I honestly think that Leyland is playing possum with Zumaya I went to a Jays/Tigers game earlier this year, and Zumaya pitched in the 9th. He hits 97-98mph during the first batter- crowd goes oooh. Next batter he runs it up to 99mph. More oohs and ahhs. The last batter, first pitch, he hits 100mph. Jays fans give a big cheer. Next pitch - 101mph. HUGE cheer from the Jays fans (as they watch their team lose). Next pitch - 102mph (ball). You'd think the Jays hit a game-winning grand-slam HR, the way we all reacted. Leyland (or the pitching coach, couldn't tell from my angle) quickly comes out and has a talk with Zumaya and the catcher. The next pitch is an off-speed one (for a weak ground out) and the inning is over. I'm guessing they told him to stop showing off and save his arm for the rest of the season. Joel Zumaya (2006): Todd Jones (2006)::Francisco Rodriguez (2002):Troy Percival (2002)

posted by grum@work at 10:42 PM on July 13

Joel Zumaya (2006): Todd Jones (2006)::Francisco Rodriguez (2002):Troy Percival (2002) The difference there, I think, Grum, is that K-Rod wasn't with the team but at the very end. He only appeared in 5 games that season. The first comparison I came up with was Wetteland/Rivera, except Wetteland was a much, much better pitcher than Todd Jones. Maybe Bryan Harvey with the 1993 Marlins, ahead of Robb Nen and Trevor Hoffman, is a better example, but, hey, Harvey did save 45 games that year. Plus, the team was terrible -- they only had 65 wins total. Maybe this will turn out like the '96 Astros, when Billy Wagner was eased into replacing... Todd Jones?

posted by BullpenPro at 11:30 PM on July 13

It's too bad, because I like Jonesy, but The Tigers need to get him out of the closing position. His save numbers are great, but his pitching hasn't been. A lot of his saves have been ugly, and the blown saves have been REALLY ugly. He hasn't been able to produce anywhere near the dominance you expect from a good closer. It's a white knuckle ride every time they bring him in. Definitely not what you want from your shut down man. It's said that he has a great attitude and that he's been a positive influence on the youngsters in the pen, but I can't imagine putting game after game in his hands once the pennant race starts to come down to the wire.

posted by ctal1999 at 02:00 AM on July 14

It's a white knuckle ride every time they bring him in. My feelings, too. Maybe he should start slamming the bullpen door open like he use to? I did hope that they would give the closer role to Rodney, but he's starting to make me nervous, too. We should just give it to Zoomer and enjoy the ride.

posted by wingnut4life at 08:00 AM on July 14

Uh...let me say this...just because a guy throws nasty and fast doesn't mean he'll be successful...what happens if Detroit gets to the LCS and Zumaya gives up a home run to Big Papi or Jim Thome? I hope that we don't have another Lidge epic on our hands...one is enough to stomach (especially here in Houston).

posted by chemwizBsquared at 10:56 AM on July 14

what happens if Detroit gets to the LCS and Zumaya gives up a home run to Big Papi or Jim Thome? Then we'll crucify him like we do to every other scapegoat. But until then, I for one enjoy seeing him bring the heat.

posted by wingnut4life at 11:24 AM on July 14

I think Jon Papelbon has put the lie to the theory that closers need experience I thought that was Huston Street's work.

posted by qbert72 at 11:34 AM on July 14

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