There is no question that this weekend series is a must-win situation for the Detroit Tigers. And, if all goes as planned, the pitchers should put on quite a show.
Friday night features Michael Fulmer. Saturday will belong to Jordan Zimmermann. And, Justin Verlander toes the slab for the Detriot Tigers on the Sunday afternoon game.
It is expected that Fulmer and Verlander will dominate the mound, but all eyes will be on Zimmermann, who hasn’t pitched since his disaster of a game on August 4.
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In his last outing, Zimmermann lasted for 1.2 innings facing 14 batters. He gave up six hits and earned runs against the Chicago White Sox. Those were the only runs that the ChiSox scored; but unfortunately, the Tigers were never able to recover. They lost the game 3-6. He will enter the game on Saturday with an ERA of 4.44.
Zimmermann’s Amazing April
Keep in mind that his April ERA was 0.55 in 33 innings against 132 batters. Since April, his ERA has been on a continual ride upwards, with one small dip on June 19.
Since that game, Zimmermann has had five starts pitching in Toledo with the Triple-A Mud Hens. During this time, he has an ERA of 1.33. He’s thrown 20 innings where he has allowed three earned runs, given up two home runs, and walked four batters. These numbers are respectable and will hopefully translate into Major League pitching on September 10 when he faces the power hitting Orioles.
He last pitched on September 2 in Toledo. He gave up the two home runs and threw 80 pitches. During this time he did not complain of any pain or discomfort.
No More Neck Pain
According to an article on ESPN.com, Zimmermann was reported saying: “I’m pain-free. I feel great, and the ball is coming out good. I have pretty good command of the off-speed pitches, so it’s way, way better than when I was rehabbing the first time and tried coming back. I feel as strong or if not stronger than I did in April. I’m excited to get back out there.”
There is nothing the Tigers could use more than a pitcher who can throw consistent strikes and go for long innings. If Zimmermann can return to the rotation, he will certainly bring much-needed relief to the young pitchers who are throwing more innings than they should. If the Tigers make it to the post-season, they will need Fulmer and Boyd to be physically ready to go. He could also reduce the number of games that Anibal Sanchez has to pitch.
The fans are clamoring for the post-season and the team has worked too hard to call it quits when they are so close. With the return of Zimmermann to the rotation, that fresh arm of his could supply some much-needed wins.