Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Lost in the glory of winning the American League Pennant and advancing to the World Series is the Detroit Tiger historic collapse. On July 30 the Tigers had the best record in baseball at 70-34 and a huge lead in the Central Division. From then to the end of the regular season they were 25-33. They actually lost the Central Division on the last day of the season but made the playoffs as the wild card.

So what happened?

It might be a coincidence, but on July 31 the team sent 1st baseman Chris Shelton to the minors and traded a rookie relief pitcher for Sean Casey of the Pirates to play 1st base. Chris Shelton had carried the Tigers in the early season. He had set an American league record by hitting 9 home runs in the first 13 games. Then his power fell off. He only hit 6 HRs in his next 70 games.

Sean Casey is a popular player in the clubhouse but he is a Bill Buckner type on the field. That is to say he is slow, has not much power, is not a good fielder, but usually hits for a decent average. Unfortunately he also looked out of shape.

It’s interesting to note that, while Shelton hit 9 HRs in the first 13 games, Casey only hit 8 for the season in 112 games.

Also, for the month of July, the “slumping” Shelton hit .288 with an on-base-pct of .363 and slugging of .388. That gave him an OPS of .751. Not bad for a player in a deep slump.

Casey, the rescuer, for the remainder of the season hit .245 with an on-base-pct of .288 and a slugging of .364. That gave him an OPS of .652 in 53 games. Some rescue.

Maybe that had something to do with the Tiger slump.


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