Setting Up Detroit Tigers Pitching for Postseason Success

Closer Jose Valverde and starter Justin Verlander obviously anchor the pitching staff in Detroit. The former has forty save opportunities in the same amount of chances. The latter has garnered his twenty-first victory already with almost a month left. Valverde’s numbers are a little misleading because his whip is near one and a third. This would usually dictate a few blown saves, but he has been the master in working his way out of jams.

The team buried the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night after coming back from a seven run deficit.

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Tigers Justin Verlander: A Month For the Record Books

As you are firing up your barbeque and checking out the fireworks, contemplate these numbers: six and zero with an earned run average of under one.

That is what the Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander has accomplished during the month of June. The word “unbelievable” gets thrown around quite a bit in today’s world, but it works in this case. Verlander and C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees are the only two pitchers in the major leagues to compile eleven victories so far this season. In addition, Verlander does have the league lead with one hundred thirty strikeouts. This is simply just further evidence of his dominance thus far.

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Just How Valuable is Justin Verlander to the Detroit Tigers?

verlander

Justin Verlander put on a show yesterday with his 119 pitch, 14 strikeout, 8 shutout inning performance.  I wish I could say any of his success this year was a surprise but, looking at trends in his numbers and his renewed attitude toward Spring Training set him up for this type of success.  He is the top pitcher in baseball right now and showing no signs of slowing down.

Verlander’s dominance is not hard to quantify.

  • He leads the Majors in wins (10),
  • Strikeouts(124, second place: 119)
  • Innings pitched (128.2, second place: 122)
  • WHIP (.839, second place: .920)
  • 1st in the AL in Win/Loss %
  • 1st in the AL in WAR for pitchers
  • 3rd in the AL in K/BB
  • 4th in the AL in ERA

He’s in the top 5 in the AL for every good statistic I could think of.  His WHIP is almost a half a baserunner per inning better than league average and he’s on pace for the 12th best WHIP ever and the 3rd best since 1913 (Pedro (.737 in 2000) is first and Maddux (.811 in 1995) is second).

And he’s getting better: Over his last 6 starts he’s 6-0 while getting an average of 25 outs per game (8.1 IP) allowing 4 total runs, 4 walks and compiling 51 strikeouts.

The Red Flag pops up though.  Over the course of his career he’s best in July and his new approach in Spring Training (which we documented here) suggests that he may break down earlier this year.  He’s a power pitcher who consistently sees his ERA rise in August and September.  I’m on the lookout for that to happen again but, with his current form and still reaching triple digit RADAR readings after 110 pitches, it’s going to take more than the turn of a calander month to slow Justin down.

Stats of the Day:  1)Justin Verlander has no nickname. To put this in perspective, Jose Valverde has a nickname.  Come on baseball fans, Verlander is not so much fun to say that we can’t come up with something.  This has got to be Shaq’s new job, nickname master.  2) The Pittsburgh Pirates are 39-37 and in 3rd place in the NL Central.  I think this could get interesting, as Pittsburgh is desperate for a winner and I see them being major buyers at the deadline if they continue to play this type of ball.  3) The Atlanta Braves have the fourth best winning percentage in the Majors despite being 18th in the league in runs scored, 25th in batting average and last in stolen bases (6 players have more steals than the Braves)

-Sean Morash

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Detroit Tigers Reach the Top of the American League Central

The Detroit Tigers are a game behind the Cleveland Indians in the loss column, but tied for the AL Central lead. The momentum for the Tigers has been phenomenal lately. The Tigers and the Indians are the only two teams in the division that have won over half their games, but the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox are also approaching their potential lately.

The Kansas City Royals are and will continue to be an afterthought.

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Detroit Tigers Schedule Becomes More Favorable

The Detroit Tigers start to the season has been very average. The Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals have been the toast of the division, but that is obviously nothing more than fool’s gold.

The former would also lead the East and the West in the American League. Tell me that is going to last!

The best case scenario is that the success of the Royals and Indians sells some tickets now for future dates on the false premise that those games will mean something to those teams in their respective cities. At least the Tigers aren’t performing the way that the Twins and White Sox are.

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