Sunday, August 30, 2009

Numbers don't tell true story of Inge, Everett's defense

        Statistics can be deceiving. Sometimes they outright lie.
        Ask anybody and they’ll tell you it has been the Tigers’ pitching and their improved defense that has carried the team for much of this uplifting year.
        Yet the Tigers currently rank 11th in the American League in fielding. Only the Mariners, Royals, and White Sox had made more errors than the Tigers’ 81, going into Sunday’s game. Only the Royals had more passed balls.
        Ask anybody and they will rave about all of the acrobatic defensive plays All-Star Brandon Inge has made at third base this year.
        Yet Inge has made 16 errors, more than any other third baseman in the AL.
        The Tigers signed free agent Adam Everett last winter to play shortstop. Period. The Tigers made it clear whatever Everett did with the bat would be a bonus.
        Yet only four shortstops in the AL have made more errors than Everett’s 14.
        Are you going to believe what the numbers say — or are you going to believe what Jim Leyland tells you?
        “There is nobody who plays defense harder than Everett and Inge,” the Tigers manager said Sunday. “They’ve both done a very good job for us, in my opinion.
        “Both of those guys are well above-average defensively. That’s one of the reasons we’re where we’re at.
        “Errors are going to happen,” Leyland added. “I don’t have a problem with that. If you can’t overcome an error once in a while, you’ve got problems.”


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