Sunday, May 31, 2009

Another Gem for Jackson

Edwin Jackson pitched perhaps his best game of the year today blanking the Orioles for eight innings in a 3-0 victory.  Jackson allowed just two hits - a two out single by Nick Markakis in the fourth and a lead off double by Ty Wigginton in the eighth.  The double posed the only major scoring threat of the game for the Orioles but Edwin retired the the next three in order to get out of it.  The 26 year old right-hander also struck out seven and walked just one.

The table below shows just how remarkable Jasckson's improvement has been this season.  Comparing the pre-2009 and 2009 columns, we see that Jackson has cut his ERA by more than half (5.15 versus 2.30).  They biggest key for Jackson has been his dramatic decrease in walks (4.5 versus 2.2) and this has caused him to more than double his strikeout to walk ratio (1.4 to 3.2).  His home run rate is also way down (1.1 to 0.6).  Based on these numbers, you could make the case that Jackson is twice as good this year compared to his career.  I also added his 2008 numbers to the table to show that his improvement from 2008 to 2009 is almost as dramatic as that using his career numbers.  

Table: Edwin Jackson's 2009 vs. past years

Stat

Pre-2009

2008

2009

IP

456

183 1/3

74 1/3

ERA

5.15

4.42

2.30

K/9

6.1

5.3

6.9

BB/9

4.5

3.8

2.2

K/BB

1.4

1.4

3.2

HR/9

1.1

1.1

0.6


I heard some fans saying that the Tigers should walk Luke Scott (5 homers in this series and 10 homers in 10 games versus the Tigers) every time up.  Others said the Tigers should drill him with a pitch.  Jackson did much better than either of those scenarios by retiring him all three times including two strikeouts. 

Jackson needed a strong game today as the Tigers could not do much against Orioles starter Jason Berken who allowed just one run in seven innings in his second Major League start.  The run came on a homer by Curtis Granderson, his team leading 13th of the year.  They later scored two runs off the Orioles bullpen on RBI doubles by Jeff Larish (two hits and a walk) and Clete Thomas.  

Fernando Rodney preserved the win with a scoreless ninth.  He now has 10 saves in 10 opportunities.  The Tigers finished up May with a 17-11 record and now head home home for six games versus the Red Sox and Angels.

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