Last week, Jim Leyland said that Edwin Jack was pitching without his ammunition. By that, he meant that Jackson has not had his best stuff recently. Specifically, he has lacked command of his slider and has not exhibited the control he had earlier in the season. Then, pitching coach Rick Knapp mentioned on Sunday that Edwin has been possibly been tipping his pitches and that they have worked with him on fixing the problem.
Tonight, Jackson pitched seven shutout innings and led the Tigers to a 3-1 victory So, did they rectify whatever was wrong with him? Possibly, but it wasn't a dominating performance - 7 hits, 3 walks and just two strikeouts. Still, it was an improvement for a pitcher who had a 4.79 ERA since the all-star break and a 6.12 ERA in September entering the game.
As usual, Edwin's teammates did not make it easy for him as Indians starter Aaron Laffey held them to one run - a solo homer by Ryan Raburn in the third - in 6 2/3 innings. The Tigers added two more in the top of the eighth on two walks, a double by Miguel Cabrera and a sacrifice fly by Marcus Thames.
The insurance runs came in handy as the Tigers bullpen had an adventurous bottom of eighth inning. Bobby Seay put two men on base before yielding to Brandon Lyon with one out. Lyon then walked two batters with the second one forcing in the the lone Indians run. Thankfully, Fernando Rodney had a relatively quiet ninth to preserve the victory. That makes 34 saves in 35 opportunities for Fernando.
It's never easy for the Tigers. Is it? The White Sox are not helping either. After losing 7-0 to the Twins last night, they are down 8-6 in the eighth inning tonight. If the Twins hold on to win, they will remain 2 1/2 games back in the American League Central division race. The magic number to eliminate the Twins is now 10.