In the recap post for Sunday's game, BYB commenter Tiggersmom voiced their frustration at how bad the Tigers seem to be at doubleheaders; we all know what happened on Friday. And that got me thinking, just how bad have the Tigers been when they go all Ernie Banks on us and play two?
Baseball-Reference.com to the rescue, of course.
Data and Analysis
Tiggersmom's original comment talked about games since 1993; I figured I'd go back as far as 2000, because... well, it just felt right, alright? Anyway, here's the raw data.
I'm fairly sure I have enough data there to calculate a reasonable standard deviation, and the Z score says the winning percentage on doubleheaders is 1.17 SD below the mean, which is... well, crappy. Plus, just look at that record: three wins, 20 splits, and they got swept 12 times. Terrible!
If you like graphs, and I know you do, I plotted the winning percentage in doubleheaders (vertical) against the overall season winning percentage (horizontal). Please note that the sample sizes on the doubleheader records are tiny; in some cases there are only two games. (Perhaps surprisingly, in every season since 2000, they've played at least one.)
Because the R2 value is so close to zero, and the slope of this line is essentially flat, we can confidently say there is no correlation between the Tigers' overall success in a season and how they do in doubleheaders that season. (Again, tiny sample sizes.)
- Yes, Tiggersmom, the Tigers are bad at doubleheaders.
- No, it doesn't matter how good they are otherwise. They're still pretty bad at doubleheaders.
- They're still leading the AL Central, so they're doing alright so far.
Fun extra reading
I came across a doubleheader in 2004 which was particularly interesting. It was on September 9 against the Royals; do you remember where you were? (I'd just started grad school, and was probably drunk. Good times.)
Game 1: Royals 26, Tigers 5
Terrible in ways seldom seen outside Tommy Wiseau movies, prison rodeos and Céline Dion concerts. This game featured the one-and-only appearance of the legendary Lino Urdaneta in a Tiger uniform; he faced six batters, walked one and gave up five hits, and all the batters came around to score. Joe Randa had a six-hit day for KC. Someone named John Ennis mopped-up for the last 3-1/3 innings, bless his soul. Winning pitcher: a young Zack Greinke.
Game 2: Tigers 8, Royals 0
A crisply-played (2:18) game, featuring eight shutout innings by once-and-now-again-a-Tiger Jeremy Bonderman, a 4-RBI day from Craig Monroe, and a ninth inning pitched by Esteban Yan, who is one of a select group of major leaguers who hit a home run on the first pitch he ever saw.
The moral of the story? If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.