MINNEAPOLIS -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland had just taken a few questions in a row from reporters about his relief corps Tuesday afternoon in the wake of Minnesota's Monday night comeback, then about Torii Hunter's throw home, when he decided to change the conversation.
"We have to score runs, fellas. It's as simple as that," he interjected. "We keep talking about the pitching and the bullpen and everything, but we're not scoring runs. We have to score runs. We've had some blowouts once in a while when our numbers go up. We need to score runs, plain and simple. I'll make it that simple for you. We need to get on the board with some runs."
Entering play Tuesday, the Tigers led the Majors with a .285 batting average, 2,442 total bases and 163 go-ahead RBIs. They trailed only the Red Sox with 788 runs scored, 759 RBIs and a .787 OPS. However, Detroit also led baseball with 1,120 runners left on base, 45 more than the Red Sox, and 1,239 double plays grounded into.
Realistically, though, the Tigers' offensive questions are better seen in the game-to-game numbers. Detroit and Boston are the only teams in baseball averaging five runs a game. The Tigers have scored double-digit runs in 18 of their 91 wins entering Tuesday, though just twice in September. However, they've also been shut out 11 times, three times in September. They've been held to one run in nine other games, three of those in September; one of them was a 1-0 win over the White Sox in Chicago.
They're 11-8 in games in which they've scored four runs, with just two of them in September. With three runs or fewer, they're 11-47. With five runs or more, they're 69-11.
"You're talking about scoring 14 in one game, or 15 or 18, and then scoring two runs the next game. Well, that averages out," Leyland said. "That's one of those numbers things that you can read into it however you want to read into it."