Micro Game Logging with Tarik Skubal by Lucas Kelly June 21, 2021 I’ll come right out with it: I have a WHIP roto-score of a 1. Ok? There. I said it. This makes for tense viewing experiences when I get to sit down and actually watch one of my starting pitchers. Every infield single has me yelling, “That was recorded as a hit!?” But, if I weren’t actually watching the game, I would have only seen the hits and walks and innings pitched portion of a starting pitcher’s line and just assumed they gave up too many. Luckily, watching Tigers starting pitcher Tarik Skubal on Wednesday assured me that he’s still a guy to roster and that he had some bad luck. This is not to say that Skubal’s game line was bad, but I’m super sensitive about my WHIP and last week’s game in Kansas City reinforced in my mind how important checking a game log can be before making drop decisions. Let’s use Skubal’s most recent outing as an example and do some micro game logging and play logging to focus on the hits allowed. Tarik Skubal – 6/16/21: 6IP, 6H, 3ER, 2BB, 7K, W LD%: 11.8, GB%: 41.2, FB%: 47.1 Bottom of the First Batter Outs Bases Score Play Leverage Index Run Expectancy J Soler 2 1__ 0-0 Jorge Soler struck out swinging.Called Strike, Ball, Called Strike, Foul Ball, Ball, Ball, Strikeout Swinging 0.79 0.25 S Perez 2 ___ 0-0 Salvador Perez singled to left (Liner).Ball, Ball, Foul Ball, Ball, Single 0.41 0.11 C Santana 1 ___ 0-0 Carlos Santana grounded out to third.Foul Ball, Ball, Ball, Ground Out 0.63 0.29 W Merrifield 0 ___ 0-0 Whit Merrifield flied out to left.Ball, Fly Out 0.87 0.54 NOTES: Solid start. Hit number one comes off a 3-1 slider to Perez. What can you do? Good hitters are going to hit that pitch and in a 3-1 count, it’s probably going to be a hit or a walk. No sweat. Bottom of the Second Batter Outs Bases Score Play Leverage Index Run Expectancy M Taylor 2 ___ 1-0 Michael A. Taylor struck out swinging.Swinging Strike, Swinging Strike, Strikeout Swinging 0.38 0.11 H Alberto 1 ___ 1-0 Hanser Alberto lined out to first.Line Drive 0.58 0.29 K Gutierrez 0 ___ 1-0 Kelvin Gutierrez grounded out to second.Ground Out 0.78 0.54 A Mondesi 0 ___ 0-0 Adalberto Mondesi homered (Fly).Swinging Strike, Ball, Swinging Strike, Home Run 0.92 0.54 NOTES: Hit number two comes from a 1-2 four-seamer (meatball?) that could probably be marked as a mistake. It happens. Skubal keeps his composure and get’s the next three outs. It’s all good. Bottom of the Third Batter Outs Bases Score Play Leverage Index Run Expectancy A Mondesi 2 1__ 3-1 Adalberto Mondesi reached on fielder’s choice to third. Jorge Soler out at second.Swinging Strike, Foul Ball, Ball, Ball, Fielder’s Choice 0.6 0.25 J Soler 2 ___ 3-1 Jorge Soler walked.Ball, Ball, Ball, Walked 0.32 0.11 S Perez 2 1__ 1-1 Salvador Perez homered (Fly). Carlos Santana scored.Home Run 0.91 0.25 C Santana 2 ___ 1-1 Carlos Santana singled to third (Grounder).Called Strike, Single 0.48 0.11 W Merrifield 1 ___ 1-1 Whit Merrifield struck out swinging.Ball, Called Strike, Called Strike, Ball, Foul Ball, Ball, Strikeout Swinging 0.73 0.29 C Gallagher 0 ___ 1-1 Cam Gallagher flied out to right.Called Strike, Ball, Fly Out 0.99 0.54 NOTES: Hit number three is an infield single? I guess. I don’t know too many people who would call this an error, but this is the point where investigating the game log shines more light. The Santana “Baltimore Chop” puts a runner on for the home run and adds an “unearned-earned run” in my opinion. Skubal’s game 41.2% ground ball rate, matched up with Detriot’s -29 DRS (tied for league-worst as of this writing) makes this kind of thing happen. Hit number four is tough to take, scoring two runs on a Salvador Perez jack. I would have never known that the two-run shot should have really only been a one-run shot, had I not been watching the game. Bottom of the Fourth Batter Outs Bases Score Play Leverage Index Run Expectancy W Merrifield 2 1_3 3-1 Whit Merrifield struck out swinging.Called Strike, Swinging Strike, Ball, Strikeout Swinging 1.26 0.52 C Gallagher 1 12_ 3-1 Cam Gallagher reached on fielder’s choice to third. Hanser Alberto advanced to 3B. Michael A. Taylor out at second.Fielder’s Choice 1.3 0.95 M Taylor 1 1__ 3-1 Michael A. Taylor singled to first (Grounder). Hanser Alberto advanced to 2B.Ball, Single 0.83 0.56 H Alberto 1 ___ 3-1 Hanser Alberto singled to right (Fly).Called Strike, Ball, Ball, Ball, Single 0.47 0.29 K Gutierrez 0 ___ 3-1 Kelvin Gutierrez struck out swinging.Ball, Called Strike, Called Strike, Strikeout Swinging 0.62 0.54 NOTES: Hit number five comes off a Hanser Alberto bloop. I wish I could find the catch probability on this one, but let’s just say Hanser earned his way on. The next play, however, should have turned two and taken some of the pressure off of Skubal but instead puts two runners on and brings the hit tally to five. Regardless, Skubal worked his way up to a 1.26 leverage index with runners on first and third and retired Whit Merrifield on four pitches, two of them swinging strikes. Bottom of the Fifth and Sixth Inning Batter Outs Bases Score Play Leverage Index Run Expectancy ▼ 6 M Taylor 2 ___ 3-1 Michael A. Taylor flied out to center (Fly).Ball, Ball, Swinging Strike, Fly Out 0.28 0.11 ▼ 6 H Alberto 1 ___ 3-1 Hanser Alberto flied out to shortstop.Ball, Fly Out 0.4 0.29 ▼ 6 K Gutierrez 0 ___ 3-1 Kelvin Gutierrez flied out to right.Fly Out 0.53 0.54 ▼ 5 A Mondesi 2 1__ 3-1 Adalberto Mondesi grounded out to third.Ball, Ground Out 0.58 0.25 ▼ 5 J Soler 2 ___ 3-1 Jorge Soler walked.Ball, Swinging Strike, Ball, Ball, Foul Ball, Walked 0.31 0.11 ▼ 5 S Perez 1 ___ 3-1 Salvador Perez struck out swinging.Swinging Strike, Foul Ball, Ball, Ball, Strikeout Swinging 0.45 0.29 ▼ 5 C Santana 0 ___ 44256 Carlos Santana struck out swinging.Foul Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul Ball, Ball, Strikeout Swinging 0.6 0.54 NOTES: The young Detroit pitcher came back out for the fifth and sixth innings, recorded one more walk, two more strikeouts, and induced a lot of soft contact to keep himself in line for the win. Here are some great images that help tell the story of Skubal’s six-hit outing: This was a great outing by Skubal. With a little more luck on his side (and maybe a better defense), those three earned runs would have been two. With even more luck (and an even better defense) his six hits would have been three. Oftentimes readers are looking for actionable items that they can apply to their own teams and game logging before making brash decisions is one that can be accomplished all here on FanGraphs, supplemented by Baseball Savant and the MLB film room.