Having lost three out of their last four games and with the Minnesota Twins breathing down their necks, the Detroit Tigers needed somebody to step up last night against the Cleveland Indians. That person last night was RHP Edwin Jackson.
Last night, in front of a raucous 25 fans at Jacobs Field, Jackson pitched seven strong innings in a 3-1 victory against the Indians. Jackson scattered seven hits and allowed zero runs in those seven innings of work. Jackson also walked three and struck out two in the winning effort.
This was quite the contrast to what Jackson has given the Tigers recently. In case you haven’t noticed, Jackson has struggled lately. Jackson’s ERA has gone up every month this year and in September his ERA was 6.12 coming into this start.
Along with Jackson’s ERA increasing every month this year, his slugging percentage against has increased every month since May. Going into last night’s start, Jackson’s slugging percentage against in September was .505.
Of course this has to do with Jackson’s increased homerun rate. From April to June, Jackson gave up a total of seven homeruns. From July to last night’s start, he has given up 18 homeruns. Perhaps it’s just dead arm that a lot of pitchers go through late in the season or it might have more to do with Jackson throwing 3,066 pitches this year.
Remember, Jackson faded down the stretch for the Tampa Bay Rays last year. Jackson had a 7.90 ERA last September and pitched himself right out of the postseason rotation for the Rays.
This is why Jackson’s start last night was so impressive. It was almost like he jumped in the DeLorean and went back to April. Despite giving up seven hits, only one of them was for extra-bases–a first inning double by Shin-Soo Choo.
If the Tigers are going to hold off the Twins in the AL Central, they need players like Jackson to step up down the stretch.
Last night was a good start.