Rick Knapp might be the best addition made by Detroit in the offseason. Pitching coaches are like QBs -- getting too much credit when things go well and too much blame when things go wrong. But one must start to believe Knapp is working some kind of magic with the Tigers. He came with a rep for developing pitchers who throw strikes. Now, consider the following:
First pitch strike percentages by Detroit starters (with career average): Justin Verlander 62.1 (58.3); Edwin Jackson 60.5 (54.9); Rick Porcello 55.5 (N/A); Armando Galarraga 63.5 (60.9); Dontrelle Willis 59.1 (57.4). Tigers closer Fernando Rodney is at 78.8 (56.8).
From what I could find, it seems the average is 58-59. Greg Maddux, as a well-known first strike machine, was in the 65-68 range from the stats I found.
I don't know if first-pitch strikes equal success, but that would seem to be the logic.
Detroit's staff is 2nd in the AL with a .321 OBP and 3rd with a 1.35 WHIP. The Tigs are 3rd in K/BB ratio, at 2.07 and lead the AL with 7.49 K/9.