A Detroit Tigers Blog with a Feminine Touch

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


In less than three days, our amazing, talented, badass, glorious team will be taking the field against the hated Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Are we excited? Extremely. Are we anxious? Yeah, kind of. Maybe not for opening day--Justin Verlander definitely seems like he's on a mission this year--but what about when Max Scherzer starts?

We are the world's biggest Scherzer fans, and his second-half performance last season made him one of the best pitchers in Major League ball. But his Spring Training starts have been troubling, to say the least. Giving up 11 runs on 9 hits to the Orioles is never, ever a good thing, especially on your last start before the regular season. Then again, it is Spring Training. It doesn't count. Scherzer was obviously not focused. So we hope know he will turn it around before his first start.

Anyway. Now that THAT concern is off our chests, we can get down to how freakishly excited we are for Opening Day. There is something special about this team. Perhaps it is because players are coming in with things to prove: Brennan Boesch isn't a one-hit wonder. Will Rhymes deserved to make it over Scott Sizemore. Austin Jackson won't fall into the dreaded sophomore slump. Justin Verlander is an Elite Pitcher.  Miguel Cabrera is the MVP.

It might sound kind of stupid to the non-baseball fan, getting so worked up about Opening Day. But we know better. It means so much more than people realize. It means boring weekdays will be fun again. It means the start of summer. It means we will once again be subject to Rod Allen-ridiculousness. It means a city comes together to root for their team. 

There are very, very few things that we like more than watching a Tigers game, especially when our team is good. There are so many reasons for us to get excited about Opening Day....and FSDetroit's April in the D, from which this blog owes its name!!!

Also, from a completely shallow, dumb-girl point of view, our team physically is pretty attractive this year. If that doesn't get all the ladies out there excited for this season, nothing will! (Kidding. Kind of).

...If you're STILL not pumped for the season, maybe this will help! In a few days Laura will be on The Knee Jerks, a podcast show co-hosted by none other than Greg from "Where Have You Gone, Johnny Grubb?" If you want to listen (duh, we know you do) go to www.sportsgeeksradio.com on Monday, April 4th at 7 pm. We can't wait!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Training Thoughts

My only picture, and it sucks. Sorry.

As some of you know, last Saturday I (Laura) was in attendance at the Tigers vs. Braves game at Joker Marchant Stadium. We had really good seats--directly behind the dugout--so I was ready to take zillions of pictures of our glorious team. So, naturally, my camera died as soon as I snapped my first shot. But, no matter. I was still able to make a ton of observations on our team!

  • Miguel Cabrera is my Tiger. Seriously. You have to see this guy, because he looks amazing. I know some of you have heard Rod Allen and others rhapsodize about how "firm" Miguel Cabrera's legs are, or something equally as disturbing. I also have heard many people say that Miggy is "fat". I am pleased to say that he really is much more muscled than I have ever seen him, and it looks like he lost a lot of the fat. So, for the people complaining about his weight? Muscle weighs more than fat. Duh. Also, some idiot in the row behind me had the audacity to scream stupidly about what a drunk Miggy is. Really? Say that to his face, a**hole. No one wants to mess with a 6-5, 270 pounds of (almost) pure muscled "alcoholic." No one. This has to work in our advantage-- Miggy is now ten times as intimidating as he was last year! And now other teams can't even pitch around him because...
  • Victor Martinez is perfect. Even though he didn't get a hit or even a walk in the game I attended, V-Mart is going to do wonders for our team, both on and off the field. Not only are pitchers going to be kept up at night, dreading about how they'll deal with the Miggy/V-Mart one-two punch, but Martinez seems to be one of the nicest, most beloved players in the game. Every time he would walk to the mound to talk to a new pitcher, he would put his arm around him, pat him on the back, give him a hug (kidding about that last one. But that would be adorable). Everyone knows how much the Indians and Red Sox adored him, so our team should be no different. Dave Dombrowski wins again. Speaking of which....
  • Dave Dombrowski was at the game! I don't know if he goes to all of them or what, but he was sitting about six or seven rows back behind home plate, just chillin' in his orange-and-white striped polo. I was thrilled to see him. Wouldn't it be sick to sit next to Dombrowski at a Tigers game?! 
  • Will Rhymes wins second base spot. I honestly was not expecting this. I thought that Scotty would get it for sure. Neither of them started the game I attended--that honor belonged to danny worth. I can't say I'm not pleased about this, because who doesn't like Mighty Mouse and his twitter? Lets hope he can duplicate his success from last season while simultaneously give us unique tweets.
  • Rick Porcello looked sharp...in more ways than one. He gave up one run and only three hits. He did give up about three walks, but he also had two double plays. So it really evened out. I am PRAYING that Ricky is over his sophomore slump and is ready to kick butt in the Verlander-Scherzer-Porcello triumvirate. Also, he looked tanned and gorgeous from the Lakeland sun, unlike some of the other lobster-red, sunburned Tigers. Just an observation.
  • Andy Dirks....Detroit Tiger? Andy Dirks, as most of you probably know, is having a monster spring. A non-roster invite making the team? I kind of doubt it, but after seeing him in action on Saturday and driving in two runs in the bottom of the ninth for a walk-off win, who knows? I'm rooting for him, but he is still in a four-man race for only two spots. I feel like Brennan and Casper have the edge. I wish they ALL could make it.
  • WTF Moment: Robbie Weinhardt didn't make the team? What?! I did not see that coming. He pitched really well in the game I went to, and he had been having a pretty good spring. Puzzling choice. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

An Introduction to Baseball Stats (Consider Yourself Informed)

Baseball is a smart-person sport.  Why, you ask? Because it is filled with all sorts of statistics and measurements for determining how good (or how terrible) a player or team is.  There are so many of these statistics that sometimes it's hard to keep track of what they are/what they mean/how important they actually are to know.  That's why, here at April in the D, we're going to make it easy for you.  We'll go through all the major batting and pitching measures and explain what they mean/if they actually mean anything at all.  Let's begin!

Batting Average (AVG)
The most cited of all hitting statistics, batting average is a measure of the number of hits a player has divided by the number at bats he has.  (So hits/at bats, for short).  An okay batting average is around .280, (which is where all the Tigers be by the end of the year PLEASE.)  But an excellent avg. is usually .300 or above. Despite the number of awards and honors that are reserved for players with a certain avg., it doesn't actually tell us much about a hitter's skill or impact on a team.  Magglio Ordonez hit a .303 AVG last year; Will Rhymes hit .304.  Now, nobody in the right mind would say that Will Rhymes had the same impact offensively that Maggs had last year not even Mighty Mouse himself.  This is because a bloop single counts the same as a double or even a home run in batting average land, which means that, batting average really can't determine a hitter's skill at the plate.  (It can however, show that your hitting sucks.  For example, our catchers hit for an average .218 last year....unacceptable!) Miguel Cabrera had the highest batting average on the Tigers (and one of the highest in the league!) with .328.

On Base Percentage (OBP)
A slightly more descriptive statistic, on base percentage is a measure of how often a player reaches the base for any reason besides a fielding error, a fielder's choice or a catcher error. Technically, the calculation is the number of hits, walks, and times hit by pitch divided by the number of at bats, walks, times hit by pitch and sacrifice flies.  OBP is an important measure because when a hitter has one man on base, the rate that he hits the ball actually increases.  If a player can reach the bases often, he gives his team a much greater opportunity to score. Cabrera's OBP last year was .420, a phenomenal grade, and the highest on the tigers last year.

Slugging Percentage (SLG)
The smart man's batting average!  Slugging percentage is the measure of the number of hits divided by the number of at bats, but doubles count for double, triples count for triple, and home runs count for quadruple the amount of a lousy single.  Let's review!  Will Rhyme's SLG was .414.  (Pretty good, actually!) Magglio's was .474!  Now you see that the two are not actually equal in terms of hitting.  Magglio hit for more power and got more bases, whereas Will hit many more singles.  Slugging percentage more accurately shows the power of a hitter and the effect that he has on the game.  Miguel Cabrera's SLG last year was a whopping .622.

On-base Plus Slugging (OPS)
Our personal favorite statistic here at April in the D, OPS is simply the addition of a player's slugging percentage with their on base percentage.  This truly shows the impact that a single bater has upon the game.  Highly influential players are often intentionally walked, which contributes to their on-base percentage.  When given the chance to bat, these player make the most of their opportunity, contributing to their slugging average.  Players with high OPS have the respect of pitchers and managers everywhere because, no matter what, it is stressful situation when they are at the plate.  Only the best hitters have an annual OPS of over .900. Miguel Cabrera's OPS last year was 1.042.  His career average is .939.

Now we move on to some basic pitching stats:

Earned Run Average (ERA)
The most commonly cited pitching statistic, ERA is the average amount of earned runs given up by a pitcher per nine innings pitched.  Unlike its hitting counterpart, batting average,  and ERA is actually an excellent measure of how good a pitcher is.  The best pitchers in the league have an ERA between 2.00 and 3.00, a feat achieved by not a single one of the Tiger's starting pitchers last year (ewww).  The Cy Young Award winners last year, Roy Halladay of the Phillies and Felix Hernandez of the Mariners, had ERAs of 2.44 and 2.27 respectively. This is why we shudder with anxiety when we think about our "pretty good" pitching this year.

Walks plus Hits per Innings Pitched (WHIP)
As explained in its name, WHIP is a measure of how often a pitcher allows base-runners.  Whereas ERA is a more offensive statistic (did they score?), WHIP is a measure of a pitcher's skill on the mound.  Players with low WHIPS are excellent because they don't even give the other a teams a chance to score. There have only been two players to have a WHIP of below 1.  But being close to it is considered desirable.  Last year, Justin Verlander had the lowest WHIP out of any of our starting pitchers with a 1.16.  Although this statistic is not used nearly as much as ERA, we think that it is nearly as good, and we'll be using it frequently to describe our pitchers and opposing pitchers this year. Help us bring in the trend!

So what have we learned? We've learned that our pitching needs work, Miguel is amazing, and now, we can all happily look at statistics.  The best thing to do with your newfound information is start acting like a showoff.  The common man doesn't know what OPS or WHIP stand for, so use them as much as possible.  You'll look like you belong on ESPN!

Monday, March 7, 2011

For Your Entertainment

We know that a lot of Tigers fans out there are very adamant on reading serious, straightforward Tiger news. We agree with that...for the most part. Its pretty obvious that we like to keep it light here at April in the D, but sometimes we too take disciplined looks at the players, their stats, and their impact on the team. We can be serious.

However, today is not that day.

Hopefully you find our blog informative and interesting and funny at the same time. We're going for entertainment value here, people. With that being said, we would like to examine the two wildest, craziest, most absurd people in the entire Tigers organization (no, not Rod and Mario)!

No, we're talking about these two.

Yes, the most colorful people in the Tiger's clubhouse are Crazy Cokey and the Big Potato himself. We remember Jim Leyland two years ago saying that the 2009 team had great chemistry. Well, chemistry or not, we have two of the most fantastic characters in all of the MLB. Lets take a look, shall we?


We had to capitalize his name because he is just all kinds of awesome. His dance moves are all kinds of amazing. Hasn't everyone wished players would celebrate more, or is that just us? Wouldn't you just love to see Verlander do a few fist pumps and hip thrusts when he strikes out the side? Or how about seeing Magglio whip his hair back and forth when he hits a home run? SEE? Baseball is already more fun. Hell, Jim Leyland can get into the mix too. Actually, no. That would be disturbing. Anyways, Jose Valverde is quite the character, from his sweet moves to his practical jokes. He also seems to have become the bullpen's version of a mob boss. Everyone answers to him. He rules all.
On the playing side of things...he needs to stay out of the Brennan Boesch Bi-Polar Season Zone and keep consistent this year. He was absolutely unbelievable at the beginning of last year. He needs to continue to Do Work. As well as dance.

Phil Coke

What...an oddball. From the way he says he's going to drive Jim Leyland nuts in the dugout to his insane hair choices, Phil Coke fascinates us. What interesting facial hair/hairstyle combination can he come up with next?!? Dreadlocks and a beard? Flowing tresses like Magglio used to have? Maybe he should dye it. Also--the sprinting thing. Cokey, in his bullpen days, used to literally sprint to the mound from the bullpen when it was his turn to pitch. I'm sure you all know everything we're saying, but just writing it all out makes us smile.
We hope Phil will be awesome in his starting role. We pray to the baseball gods that he will. But, we're not 100% sold on the idea. He's been doing pretty well in Spring Training, but it is just Spring Training. We shall see, Cokey. We shall see.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Random Tiger Thoughts from Laura

Me (obviously) at Spring Training last year!

Every so often, the three of us decided we will do a Random Thoughts section about a bunch of different Tiger topics from just one of us. So I'm going to do this first one. These are my opinions and thoughts about our lovely Tigers, not my sisters. Mine!

ESPN Can Suck It

No, really, they can. It's weird for me to even write that sentence. But the way they are handling the whole Miguel Cabrera situation really pisses me off. First, they're labeling him an alcoholic. Really? You don't know him personally. None of us do. But for people like Jayson Stark to say that Miggy is "avoiding the problem"actually makes me want to kick his ass. When did Jayson Stark turn into Dr. Drew?
But thats not even the whole problem. Yesterday SportsCenter did a recap of the Tigers-Braves Spring Training Game. Cabrera went 0-3, and they made it sound like he was spiraling into a Gerald Laird-level of suck. Come on. He missed the first six days of practice and it's only Spring Training. This is probably the first and only time I'll say this, but ESPN needs to leave Cabrera alone.
All this is coming from someone who wants to work for ESPN one day. Just goes to show that you don't  mess around with my Tigers!

I Overreact Often, But...

...I think Max Scherzer is going to have a freaking amazing season. He's started out strong in Spring Training (yes, I know, it's just Spring Training. STILL). He took names at the end of last season, and was arguably our best pitcher. He has those crazy sick eyes of his that sear into batter's souls. He is the complete package. Admittedly, I was completely distraught at the loss of Edwin Jackson and the end of my favorite Tiger's bromance. But as soon as Mad Max picked up his game by destroying the A's all those months ago, I knew we had something special.
I'm still looking for a good new bromance though. Come on, guys!

I Really Love Twitter.

I do! OK, at first when Twitter was starting out I really hated it. I don't care that so-and-so is eating toast for breakfast. I don't need to know when someone is going to the bathroom. I never understood the appeal...until certain Tigers joined the Twitterverse. Now I can't get enough. I love Will Rhymes's thoughts on music and his dogs. I adore Casper Wells's tweets about how much the Tiger's are going to kick ass this season. I find myself compulsively checking their Twitter pages just so I can catch a glimpse of what it must be like to be a Tiger. Clearly it's awesome. Plus, you get to see fantastic pictures like this! The appeal of Twitter is now obvious.

Could Spring Get Any Better?

No, it cannot. Do you know why? Because, in exactly two weeks I will be driving to Spring Training!!! I. Cannot. Wait. I will be taking a zillion pictures and trying desperately to meet my Tigers. I will also hopefully be doing a play-by-play analysis of the Tigers-Braves game on the 19th and then posting it to the blog later that night. Be on the lookout for it!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Angels in the Outfield

Sorry to all of our many readers (hahahahaha) that we're not posting as frequently. We're pretty busy--its called college. You remember it.
ANYWAYS, Spring Training games are officially underway, and our brilliant team has cranked out a 3-0 start, not that it matters. They took down the hated Yankees yesterday, so that can only be a good thing. Those three wins were mostly thanks to our pitchers, but today we're going to look at a different position(s): the outfield.

So Raburn, AJax, and Magglio seem to have the outfield positions all locked up. Or do they? We are going to take an in-depth look at not just the skills of these ballplayers, but their personality, looks, fan-appeal, looks....you know, the important stuff!

Austin Jackson (AJax)

Probably the only player who is a lock for an outfield spot, Austin Jackson was so good last year that he made us completely forget about Curtis Granderson. This is quite the feat, since we were the girls who openly wept when he was traded. Now, after seeing what a genius Dave Dombrowski is for making that deal, we are AJax's biggest supporters. He's young, attractive, and kind, though he can't get the right enunciation for the phrase "fair share". Even though he'll never be as beloved as Curtis was in the D, it's our firm belief that he'll be much better.

Brennan Boesch (Baby B)

Oh, baby Brennan. After such a successful first half, Brennan failed to impress in the second (and most important) part of the season. Will he win the spot reserve spot this year, or will Casper Wells steal it away from him? Either way, he'll look good doing it--his Cali-boy swag and strong physique have us (Rosie!!!) praying he'll make the 25-man roster. One can only hope that he will produce the same ridiculous stats he racked up in the first half. Yeah, sure.

Casper Wells (Ghostboy)

This Friendly Ghost is poised to overtake Brennan Boesch and fill our team quota of white-baller-who-wishes-he-was-black. Have you seen his tweets?!...Anyway, Ghostboy tore up the Big Leagues in the brief time he was there last year, and we think he will make the roster over Baby B this year. Once he gets more exposure, the fans in the D are probably going to love him. He obviously loves to connect with fans and is proud to be on the Tigers, so more power to him. Plus, he's kind of witty . Who doesn't love that?!

Clete Thomas (The Cleteus)

Ah, Clete. We're slightly embarrassed to say (especially after his performance last year) that we used to have a bit of a Clete Thomas Obsession. So much so that we hated Don Kelly when he came up for Clete in the 2009 season, and always scoffed at Rod Allen for his criticism. Now all of these feelings have passed, and it's time for us to get real about Clete's chances in the bigs this season. We don't think it's going to happen. Despite his redneck charm and deer-in-headlights smolder, Clete would have to have a hell of a spring training to beat out the likes of Don, Casper and Brennan.

Don Kelly (Don Kelly)

Don Kelly can do it all, and that's why he's definitely going to make the squad this year. He can play outfield, third base, first base, and supposedly catcher. There's no way, that with our surplus of injury-prone Venezuelans, we won't need a back-up in SOME position, and Don is the perfect guy to do it. As far as looks go, have you seen this guy in person? TV doesn't do him justice. Too bad he has the cutest kids ever...

Magglio Ordonez (Maggs)

The Tiger's answer to Fabio until he cut his hair, Magglio is the kind of player that makes both coaches and desperate housewives swoon (for very different reasons, obviously). We here at April in the D were terrified that last year would be his last in the Motor City, but Dombrowski flashed his genius once again and Maggs is here to stay (at least for the year)! Hopefully he doesn't run into any health issues -we all saw the affect his absence had on our team last year. So here's looking at a great 2011, Magglio--and please, grow that fabulous hair back.

Ryan Raburn (Ry Ry)


There's something about Ryan. You know what we're talking about. Just when you think he's starting to really suck big time, he goes crazy and hit .400 for the month of August. He claims that he does better when he knows he's going to play, and all evidence points that he's telling the truth. If he can be as productive as he was the tail end of last season, he's in for one monster year. We're rooting for ya!

Agree? Disagree? Let us know!