A's easier foe than Tigers for Sox

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/ ]

a who are these guysTIGERS STRENGTHS

  • 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:

Fielding PCT.

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%.



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:

C +30

1b +74

2b +35

SS -9

3b +103

RF +17

CF +21

LF -31



DH +30


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.











Tags: ALCS 2013 Oakland A's

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