Michigan and Trumbull

September 2, 2009 3:21 PM

Look out!: Tiger 8, Indians 5

Pitching is unquestionably the key to the Tigers’ success the rest of the season, even more so than your general “pitching wins championships” mantra.

Thanks to a wildly inconsistent offense that relies more on the home run than on good hitting. Detroit needs its pitching staff, particularly Nos. 1-3 in the starting rotation, to carry a little extra burden.

That’s why last did more to make me nervous than to calm me. Usually an eight-run output from the offense is something to cheer about. But I still can’t shake off Edwin Jackson’s five inning, four-run performance. Over the entire season his numbers are fine and he probably could have three to four more wins of the offense hadn’t let him down so many times.

But since the month of August, including last night’s game, Jackson is a mediocre 6-5 with an ERA at 4.76. That’s more like the Jackson I was expecting at the beginning of the season. Seeing bad Edwin Jackson emerge late in the year isn’t comforting. Neither was his performance a day after the Tampa Bay Rays smoked Jarrod Washburn.

On the bright side the bullpen has been stellar as of late and with the exception of one bad pitch from Zach Minor, all four relief pitchers looked great.

But now isn’t the time for the top three pitcher in the rotation to have five inning outings. Porcello’s innings will already be limited and whoever fills the No. 5 spot won’t be expected to go beyond six innings very often. That leaves Jackson, Washburn and Justin Verlander to eat up innings while giving the team a chance to win.

With the bullpen looking this good, the last thing Jim Leyland wants is for those arms to be taxed heading into the playoffs.

So for every game will have a player of the game, a goat of the game and the “I knew it was over when …” moment of the game. Here are the candidates for Detroit’s 8-5 win over Cleveland.

Player of the game: Aubrey Huff (2-2, 3 RBI, 2 BB)—This acquisition may not have made the biggest splash but it could turn out to be the best move the Tigers made for their offense.

Goat of the Game: Carlos Carrasco (3 IP, 9 H, 6ER, 3 BB, 3 SO, 3 HR)—Welcome to the big leagues kid. You may have a bright future ahead of you but until your next start you’re a dud.

“I knew it was over when …”: Fernando Rodney struck out Jamey Carrol with a nasty back door change up. You knew there was no way the Indians were hitting him.

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