Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the Tigers' 8-2 homestand was the starting pitching, outside of Dontrelle Willis and his Triple-A replacement Eddie Bonine. Here are some numbers heading into today's game, in which Nate Robertson fired 6 shutout innings of 4-hit, zero-walk ball.
Armando Galarraga: 2-0, 12.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 1.42 ERA, .430 OPS allowed.
Justin Verlander: 1-1, 16 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 11 K, 2.25 ERA, .431 OPS allowed.
Kenny Rogers: 0-0, 15 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 0.60 ERA, .479 OPS allowed.
Verlander has a 2.57 ERA over his last 6 games. Rogers has a 3.32 ERA over his last 9 games and it's 0.93 in his last 4. Galarraga has a 2.63 ERA in his last 4 games.
With Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya expected back this week, the pitching might be on the verge of becoming much better. That's provided Rodney and Zumaya can find something close to their 2006 form. If so, and the starters continue to be good more often than not, it will be very interesting to see what happens.
Detroit's ERA was 5.02 when its record was 16-26. Entering today, the Tigers were on a 15-11 run with a 3.96 ERA.
In April, when the Tigs went on a 12-5 run, the ERA was 4.08 and the OPS allowed was .685. In the 9 games leading into today, the ERA was 3.11 and OPS allowed was .602. So the pitching has been a much greater contributor.