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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Starting staff still sterling

Need a simple reason why the Tigers are still playing?

Same as it always is: starting pitching.

And the rotation — very good to end the regular season — has been exceptional in the postseason.

Justin Verlander gave up a home run to Eduardo Nunez to lead off the ninth inning in Tuesday’s Game 3, the first ninth-inning homer ever allowed by the pitcher in his big-league career. Although it snipped Verlander’s personal streak of shutout innings at 23, it wasn’t the only streak that came to an end.

It was the last hurrah for a streak of 30 1/3 scoreless innings put together by the Tigers rotation — Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez — the longest such streak in franchise history. They’d gone 37 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run, as well. The starters had allowed two runs or less in all eight of their outings prior to Wednesday’s start.

“We have been dominating. The stats speak for themselves. You have been watching the game. They got one run (off starters) so far in three games in the series,” Delmon Young said after Game 3. “Our starters have been dominating and making it easy on our offense.”

While the national focus may be on the struggles of the Yankees’ bats in this series — they’re hitting just .182 as a team, with all five of their RBI coming from homers hit by three different players — it’s not gone unnoticed around here that the Tigers’ staff deserves some credit for that, too.

“I’ll tell you what, Justin gets the majority of attention as he probably should because he’s on a different level, but, you know, you saw Sanchez’s game in New York, pretty darn good. I have a lot of faith in him. And Fister, I have been a big fan. Ever since he has worn a Tiger uniform I have been pretty impressed with what he has done, and he pitched a big game the other night. And Scherzer, to me, he could strike out more than Justin. He has movement, he is funky, he has it all, too,” said former Tigers ace Jack Morris, who threw out the first pitch for Tuesday’s Game 3.

“So you look at the numbers in postseason this year, the Tigers staff has been lights out. They have been great.”


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