Tigers' offense goes dark after sixth inning
Houston — Maybe it’s an anomaly. Maybe it’s just a function of a small sample size or a byproduct of the time missed by sluggers J.D. Martinez and Miguel Cabrera. Or, maybe it’s a symptom of a bigger issue.
Fact is, the Tigers have struggled mightily to score runs from the seventh inning on. Their 37 runs scored after the sixth inning ranks last in baseball. The team who has scored the next fewest runs from the seventh inning on, the Twins, has scored 11 runs more than the Tigers.
The Tigers’ .200 team average is also worst from the seventh inning on.
“My guess is it’s an anomaly,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “The type of offense we have, when we start to roll, it’s not going to matter what inning. Obviously, in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, you are seeing back-end relievers and closers and they’re tough to score runs against.
“But I think when the season is over, I don’t think this will be an issue.”
Entering play Monday, the Tigers had been outscored 70-37 from the seventh on. In their last eight losses, they’ve been outscored 20-8 in those innings. In their last six wins, they’ve won those innings 8-2.
“It’s important to be consistent scoring runs,” Ian Kinsler said. “You want to score runs late, for sure. But I don’t know what the reason is. It’s something we need to improve on.”
Playing in the Central Division, the Tigers do face some of the top back-end relievers in the American League — Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen from Cleveland; and Nate Jones, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson from the White Sox, to name just two teams.
“Everybody has to face tough relievers in the late innings,” Kinsler said.
The Tigers have six of their regulars hitting less than .159 from the seventh on: Tyler Collins (2-for-31), Andrew Romine (5-for-40), Justin Upton (5-for-39), Jose Iglesias (6-for-42), Nick Castellanos (7-for-44) and Kinsler (5-for-32).
“You have a good week and all of a sudden you are in the middle of the pack,” Ausmus said. “I don’t get too caught up in those numbers in such a small sample size, especially since we’ve been missing a lot of our players offensively.”