Meanwhile, some pitchers are simply more comfortable pitching at home. Rogers had a better ERA at home than on the road in 2005, 2004 and 2002, when he was pitching in the hitter-friendly Ballpark at Arlington. The same was true in 2003, when he pitched for the Twins. So these differences aren't just something that surfaced overnight, and they don't seem confined to Comerica Park. A conspiracy theorist, of course, could spin this evidence his own way: Not only is Rogers cheating, but he's also been doing so for a long time. And that cheating somehow requires the help of a clubhouse attendant, groundskeeper, batboy, whatever, who can aid and abet the cheating at home, but not on the road.
Let me put this as carefully as I can: We cannot reject, on the basis of the statistical evidence, the claim that Rogers is cheating at home. But the statistical evidence does not prove that he's cheating, either. You wouldn't hang a man with this stuff.
There was an outtake circulating around the press box Sunday night that showed Rogers with similar dirt patterns on his pitching hand in his ALCS start against Oakland. That, coupled with the statistics, makes Rogers look pretty guilty. But it's still circumstantial evidence.
So what I'd propose is this: Hire a crack team of physicists, from MIT or Stanford, Give them the FoxTrax data And see if Rogers' pitches are actually moving in ways that it is physically impossible for a normal baseball to move. Perhaps in 30 years we'll have the science all taken care of and there will be three lights behind home plate: red for strike, green for ball and yellow for spitball.
Just like the other one
Carlos Guillen is a rarity on the Tigers: an all-around hitter who can take a walk and steal a base.
Why did the Tigers look so impotent against Anthony Reyes on Saturday -- and so tough against Jeff Weaver a day later?
If the Tigers were a species, they would have very low genetic diversity. In other words, most Tigers hitters are remarkably similar to one another. Virtually all of them can be placed in one of two groups:
Classic Sluggers, characterized by excellent power, a high strikeout rate and a mediocre walk rate. Craig Monroe, Magglio Ordonez, Brandon Inge andMarcus Thames clearly fall into this group, and Curtis Granderson probably does too.
Doubles Hitters, characterized by a tendency to put the ball in play for base hits and doubles, a low strikeout rate and a low walk rate, and not much home run power. Placido Polanco and Sean Casey clearly belong here. Ivan Rodriguez used to have more power, but he's closer to a Polanco/Casey hitter at this stage of his career. Alexis Gomez, when he plays, fits here too.
Carlos Guillen probably warrants an exception, as Guillen has developed into a great all-around player who can take walks and steal bases. We also haven't counted the Ramon Santiagos of the roster, but those guys aren't hitters of any kind.
However, there are no Bobby Abreus in this lineup -- guys who really work the count. There are no low-strikeout power hitters like Gary Sheffield. There are no Johnny Damons or Jose Reyeses.
And so, when one Tigers hitter likes to hit against a certain type of pitcher, chances are that a number of other Tigers are going to like to hit against him as well. Conversely, when a pitcher like Reyes seems to have the Tigers' number, the problems are likely to run throughout the whole lineup.
The Tigers, for having a pretty good offense overall, have had quite a number of occasions when the offense has been effectively shut down. The team scored two or fewer runs on 38 occasions during the regular season, and three or fewer on 63 occasions. As we noted at BaseballProspectus.com, these numbers are higher than usual for a team with this amount of run production.
There's not much that the Tigers can do about this for now. But in planning for next season, the Tigers ought to be targeting players who break type.
For injury reports, commentary and cutting-edge performance analysis, visit Baseball Prospectus on the web.