By midnight tonight, we will know who the Sox will face on Saturday at Fenway for the ALCS and the right to play in the 2013 World Series; so, which team would be easier for Boston to beat?
As a Bay Area resident from 1968-2000 I had the opportunity to observe the Oakland franchise from Finley’s Ass, to Billy Ball, to Moneyball, so I will attempt to explain why the Athletics are much less likely to beat the Sox than the Tigers.
[My colleague, Harry Burnham, will provide the counterpoint: Why the Tigers are a more vulnerable opponent than Oakland. http://bosoxinjection.com/2013/10/10/im-taking-tigers-comes-alcs-matchups-heres-detroit/ ]
- Probably the best 1-2 punch starters in MLB: Scherzer and Verlander.
- The best run-producer in MLB, Miggy Cabrera and a powerful sidekick, The Prince.
- One of the most experienced and wily managers in MLB, Jim Leyland.
- Sox were the top offense in MLB, but the Tigers were in a close second place and better than the Sox in BA [.283/.277].
- Peralta is back. After hitting .303, 11/55 RBI in 107 regular-season games, Peralta hasn’t missed a beat: ALDS: 3-for-7, 3-run HR and 5 critical RBIs.
- BA: Tigers .283, Sox .277, A’s .254.
While the Sox and Tigers are just .006 apart, the A’s are 29 % points lower than Detroit.
- SLG: Sox .446, Tigers .434, A’s .419.
While the Sox and Tigers are just .012 apart, the A’s are 27% points lower than the Sox.
- R: Sox 853, Tigers 796, A’s 767.
- OPS: Sox .795, Tigers .780, A’s .745.
While the Sox and Tigers are just .015 apart, the A’s are 50% points lower than the Sox.
- HR: A’s 186, Sox 178, Tigers 176.
Yes, no typo, the A’s hit more HRs than the Sox or Tigers. But, the irony here is that it shows that, in the context of the other stats, the A’s rely on HRs to score runs; they are not as good as the Sox and Tigers at “building” runs by bunching hits or astute base running [Sox are nearly the best in MLB in this category.]
And if the streaky Cespedes is running cold, the A’s offense goes into the deep freeze.
The Tigers have only posted runs in 2 of the 27 innings in this series. The Tigers were second in offense only to the Sox: Detroit: .283/ .346/ .434/ .780, compared to the Oakey Dokey Boyz, who were 14th with .254/ .327/ .419/ .745; those are huge statistical gaps.
Despite the pratfalls by the Big Bookends on MLB videos, the Tigers are better than the A’s on defense:
TIGERS .987 [# in MLB]
A’S .983 [27TH in MLB]
Sox are #9 at .987. [lower DER stat].
Oakland is known for its pitching depth, but the stats say that Oakland is just a little better than Detroit.
ERA WHIP K-W%
A’s 3.56 1.22 1183/428
Tigers 3.61 1.25 1428/462
Yes, no typo, Detroit has a better K-W%.
EXPERIENCE FACTOR IN POST SEASON
Setting “El Viejo Gordo,” Bartolo Colon, aside, the A’s have scant Post season experience:
The starting lineups show that the Tigers have played more MLB games and more Post Season games than the young, upstart Athletics.
Without running all the numbers on each player, let’s compare the three teams by starting positions; and assign a point value [0-125] to each player:
RED SOX Saltalamacchia 60
TIGERS Alex Avila 69
A’S Derek Norris 39
RED SOX Napoli 77
TIGERS Fielder 150, Martinez 120
A’S Daric Barton 46
RED SOX Pedroia 114
TIGERS Omar Infante 97
A’S Eric Sogard 62
RED SOX Drew 72
TIGERS Jose Iglesias 55
A’S Jed Lowrie 64
RED SOX Middlebrooks 69
TIGERS M. Cabrera 175
A’S Alberto Callaspo 72
RED SOX Victorino 115
TIGERS Torri Hunter 99
A’S Josh Reddick 82
RED SOX Ellsbury 125
TIGERS Austin Jackson 119
A’S Coco Crisp 98
RED SOX Gomes 73
TIGERS Andy Dirks 69
A’S Yoenis Cespedes 100
RED SOX Tazawa 86
TIGERS Al Albuquerque 72
A’S Sean Doolittle 75
RED SOX Uehara 105
TIGERS Jaoquin Benoit 72
A’S Grant Balfour 75
RED SOX Ortiz 125
TIGERS Victor Martinez 120
A’S Seth Smith 90
While the Athletics are barely better at closer and set-up [3 points] and significantly better than the Tigers in LF [Andy Dirks 69, Yoenis Cespedes 100], the Tigers are far superior at all other positions and by vastly greater point margins:
Do the math; the Tigers are a whopping 325 points better than Oakland.
Sox fans should be rooting for the A’s today, since the Tigers are a far more formidable foe.