Through their first 37 games this season, the Detroit Tigers’ record was 25-12. That seems like forever ago.
The Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Tigers 7-3 Thursday completing a three game sweep, It was the first sweep Toronto had in the Motor City in 11 years according to mlb.com.
“We’re really not doing anything very well,” first-year manager Brad Ausmus said. Detroit has lost 13 of its last 17 games. “Over the span of this struggle, it’s been one thing, another thing or a combination.”
Justin Verlander, who had been struggling in several starts this season, had been a particular cause of concern. Two starts ago on May 25th, the usually hard-throwing Verlander threw several fastballs at a relatively pedestrian 89 MPH giving up a career high 9 runs in 5.1 innings in a 12-4 loss to the Texas Rangers.
After that start, Verlander made a mechanical adjustment with pitching coach Jeff Jones. His velocity has increased, hitting 97 on several pitches Thursday, topping out at 98.
His record is now 6-5 after allowing 6 runs, 5 earned and eight hits in seven innings. He walked four and struck out four.
After Detroit tied the score at 3 in the fifth inning, Adam Lind drew a leadoff walk in the sixth. Juan Francisco and Brett Lawrie then hit back-to-back home runs to make the score 6-3.
“I wouldn’t get too focused on the runs today,” Ausmus said. “His stuff was outstanding really.”
After the game, Verlander thought he had turned a corner, “though the results don’t speak to that today at all.”
“If you look back at my stuff my last two starts, I’m obviously pleased with what I’ve been working on. I just need to hone it in,” Verlander said.
Statistically speaking, as far as ERA goes, the 2012 Cy Young winner and American League MVP is Detroit’s fifth best starting pitcher, with a rotation high 4.19.
The AL East leading Blue Jays have won 19 of 23. J.A. Happ picked up the win allowing three runs and seven hits over 6.1 innings to improve to 5-2 reported ABC News.
“They’ve been hot as of late. But they also caught us cold,” Ausmus said. “If we’re hot and they’re hot, I’ll take us.”
The Detroit losing streak is at a season-high five games. Its lead in the woeful American League Central is down to 2 1/2 games over the White Sox after being at 7. The Tigers’ record now stands at 31-25.
“Big picture, it’s still a good baseball team,” Ausmus said. “It’s just not playing good baseball right now. We need to snap out of it.”
[Image via smittysports.blogspot.com]