Here's a few keys to the season BYB readers came up with in Monday's discussion post that I haven't touched on so far.
1. Hitting with Runners in Scoring Position
This one was suggested by more than one individual who noticed the repeated manta from the announcers: "The Tigers threatened, but did not score."
How bad was it? With runners in scoring position, the team hit just .256 (OPS of .727). Without runners in scoring position they batted .270 with a .758 OPS.
They didn't do as bad as memory might serve with a runner on third and less than two outs. The Tigers hit .343 with an OPS of .919.
In any case, it's undeniable: The Tigers must do a better job getting runners across the plate. Having a better lineup from top to bottom should help with that.
2. Running More, Better
The Tigers don't necessarily need to be a leading team for baserunning. But they've often been criticized for going station-to-station, and they do not even attempt to steal bases even with capable players like Austin Jackson. So a few BYB readers thought they could do a better job in both areas.
Checking in on the sabermetric stats, the Tigers were 2.2 equivalent baserunning runs below average in 2010, per Baseball Prospectus. (Interestingly, that ranked them an above-average 14th in the MLB and ahead over every division rival).
According to MLB.com's Jason Beck, we saw an improvement in 2010 that Leyland would like to sustain: He wrote, according to Bill James Online,
The Tigers earned a +23 net gain in baserunning, also their best since at least 2002. Add in basestealing, and Detroit’s +23 net gain was their best since 2007, when they somehow earned a huge rating on stolen bases.
3. Figure out the Twins
This wasn't quite as big an issue in 2010, when the Tigers went 9-9 vs the division opponents who can sometimes give them real fits. But that was then, this is now, as they say. The Tigers must continue to at least break even against the Twins and White Sox, (who the Tigers were 10-8 against), and hopefully do a bit better than that.
4. Winning Baseball Games
Thank you, jokers in the crowd!