Michigan and Trumbull

September 12, 2009 11:52 AM

Is it time to panic? Blue Jays 6, Tigers 4

OK, OK. It’s not time to panic, right?

Four losses in a row in the last month of the season isn’t that bad, right?

Well, fortunately for the Tigers they’re in the worst division in baseball: the only place where your magic number decreases after four straight losses.

The pitching let down the team again in a 6-4 loss to the Blue Jays and you have to wonder why Detroit is playing so poorly against a couple of teams who haven’t been in contention for much of anything since the first two months of the season.

If the last four games (really ten games since we saw six straight wins followed by four straight losses) have taught us anything it’s just how delicate Detroit’s chances of a deep postseason run are.

The hitting just isn’t that good and that’s something we’ve known all year. It’s the pitching that fans should be worried about. The current American League average team ERA is 4.46. From April to July the Tigers’ pitching staff compiled a respectable 4.02.

But during the last two months of the season the ERA has ballooned to 4.72. The bullpen’s recent struggles have contributed to that and it doesn’t surprise me much since it’s a pen that’s held together with duck tape and bubblegum. What is concerning is Edwin Jackson’s last two months.

In Jackson’s last seven starts his ERA is 4.57. He’s pitched more than six innings in just four of those games and opponents are hitting .292 against him. He’s still 5-2 over that time, and I can’t ignore that. But the stats show that he’s not as sharp as he was throughout most of the year.

August and September are supposed to belong to the pitchers. It’s the end of the year, arms are aching more and bats are feeling just a little bit heavier. Pitchers also have hundreds of at bats from the year to scout before every game.

The Tigers certainly aren’t the only team whose pitchers have done worse over the last two months of the season but during this pennant race and (one hopes) subsequent post season, Detroit can afford to have its pitching staff fail to show up.

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