Saturday, May 09, 2009

Another Shutout for Tigers

When the Indians have played the Tigers in recent years, there have not been a lot of pitchers duels but we've seen two of them the last two nights. On the heels of a dramatic 1-0 victory last night, the Tigers blanked the Indians 4-0 tonight behind the much improved Edwin Jackson. It was a scoreless tie for six innings before Indians starter Fausto Carmona tired in the seventh allowing two runs. The Tigers then added two more in the eighth to give a comfortable cushion for their bullpen. Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney each pitched a scoreless inning to preserve the win. The Tigers now have back to back shutouts for the first time since July 27-28, 2006 versus the Astros. The starting pitchers in those games were Justin Verlander and Nate Robertson.

A couple of Tigers pitchers, who have showed dramatically better control this season, continued to throw strikes tonight. Edwin Jackson walked just one and struck out seven in seven innings. The hard throwing right-hander now has an unprecedented for him 35/11 K/BB ratio in 45 innings for the season. His 3.2 K/BB ratio is more than double his 1.4 career ratio coming into the season. Similarly, his 2.2 walks per nine innings is less than half his 4.5 career rate. Not surprisingly, his 2.60 ERA is also about half his career ERA of 5.15. I was very skeptical when they picked him up but I'm being proven wrong. This man is a very different pitcher this year up to this point.

Joel Zumaya allowed one hit but no walks in the eighth and has now allowed no runs and no walks in six innings this season. Coming into the season, he had walked 5.2 batters per nine innings. Fernando Rodney was actually a little wild tonight and walked a batter but it was only his second walk in 11 innings this year. Last year, he walked 6.75 batters per nine innings and has a 4.6 rate for his career.

With Carlos Guillen still on the DL and the slumping Magglio Ordonez getting a day off , the Tigers had to claw for runs again. They scored their first run in the seventh when Carmona walked Curtis Granderson and Jeff Larish, Brandon Inge sacrificed and Gerald Laird hit a grounder to short with the infield back. The second run scored when Ramon Santiago stroked a single up the middle. They added two more in the eighth on an RBI triple by Larish and an RBI single by Inge.

They will go for a sweep tomorrow with Rick Porcello on the mound. They are currently in second place a game behind the Royals.

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