Found May 14, 2013 on Fox Sports Detroit:
DETROIT -- It happens in the sixth, seventh or eighth inning of nearly every game at Comerica Park. Detroits starting pitcher walks off the mound after a commanding performance and heads toward the dugout, walking slowly as the fans rise to their feet. Doug Fister received another one of those standing ovations Tuesday night, after allowing two runs on five hits without a walk in his seven innings. The Tigers were on their way to a 6-2 win over the Houston Astros, and another quality start was in the books. Wednesday afternoon, it will be Max Scherzer (5-0) facing the Astros. Hes followed my Justin Verlander, perhaps the top pitcher in the game, then its onto the vastly improved Rick Porcello. Anibal Sanchez (2.05 ERA) might be the most consistent hurler in the rotation, and he comes before Fister (5-1, 3.06 ERA). Tigers starters entered Tuesdays play leading the American League with 3.24 ERA, 238 strikeouts, 25 quality starts and tied for the lead with 18 wins. They lead every major pitching category and have three of the top-10 strikeout pitchers in the league while on pace to shatter the major-league record for strikeouts in one season. They are a standing ovation waiting to happen. Tigers manager Jim Leyland nodded when this was mentioned and said, Knock on wood. The skipper then proceeded to rap the wooden desktop in his office with his knuckles. We feel good about our pitching staff, he continued, and at the end of that day, that is whats going to win it for you. Pitching with power and focus are what wins in the postseason, and Leyland knows he has both in abundance. Fister fell behind, 2-0, but didnt panic against Houston. Scherzer and Sanchez also trailed early in their starts on this home stand but found their rhythms and collected victories. Thats a matter of focus. All our guys, all of our starters, are good at that, Leyland said. The days they pitch, they come in here solemn. They get their game faces on. Is that experience or personalities coming through? Thats a great question, Leyland said. A lot of it is personality. They get ready differently with superstitions or listening to music. Verlander has a precise schedule he follows the day of each start and enters the clubhouse wearing headphones and staring lasers at anything in his path. He talks to nobody. Fister nestles into a big leather couch in the middle of the clubhouse, puts on headphones, pulls his team hoodie over his head and takes a nap. Once focused, each starter comes out with the intensity of a prize fighter, looking to punch out batters and seeing nothing but the mitt and fingers of their catcher. Focus can get lost behind power and stuff, but its what wins games. They dont get excited when things dont go right, Leyland said. They are mature and know our offense will come back. Detroit (22-15) became the first team to reach 200 runs in the majors this season, getting to 201 on Tuesday, and has a .284 batting average, which is far and away the highest in the game. Our pitchers know were going to score runs, Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones said. When they give up some early runs, they focus on holding the other team right where theyre at. "Theyre very competitive as a group and just want to win. Not having to stress out over giving up runs is critical. Pitchers who feel they have to be near perfect to win usually press and lose. Detroits starters are mastering the simple art of worrying only about the batter in front of them. It sounds easy, but its not. They slow down the game, and thats the best route to success. I asked Fister what it's like being part of a staff that gets standing ovations on an almost nightly basis. Its an honor to be a part of this staff, he said. You have your end to uphold, and theres a high standard here to follow. They rarely acknowledge the cheers. They walk back, heads down, and are greeted by the back-slaps and high-fives of teammates in the dugout. Sometimes they look up and nod slightly to fans. Sanchez doffed his cap after setting the teams single-game strikeout mark with 17. It takes something pretty special to get them to take a bow. You get the feeling theyre already focusing on their next start.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Detroit Tigers Could Only Stand to Benefit With a Strong Showing out of Avisail Garcia

Austin Jackson’s hamstring injury has presented Avisail Garcia and the Detroit Tigers with a big opportunity. (Josh May, Flickr) Before things get out of hand, let me begin this piece with a simple Detroit Tigers public service announcement. Austin Jackson’s not going anywhere in center field. He’s a solid player who’s continued development will lead to him becoming an everyday...

Detroit Tigers: bites, gripes, and need to knows

The Detroit Tigers just lost 4 out of 5 games, albeit by a total of just 5 runs. It’s funny how a stretch like this can bring out the ‘Jhonny Peralta has no range’ haters, the ‘Papa Grande has no arsenal’ realists, and the ‘I’m telling you, the Tigers just don’t have what it takes’ buffoons. Avisail Garcia is back The Tigers are still a solid 20-15, tied for 1st...

Tigers place Jackson on DL

Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson was put on the 15-day disabled list Monday because of a pulled left hamstring, leaving the Tigers without a talented leadoff hitter who also covers a lot of ground defensively in spacious Comerica Park. The move is retroactive to Sunday, when Jackson missed a game against Cleveland following the injury. ''You want to make sure it'...

Game 2013.36: Astros at Tigers

Detroit Tigers: 20-15, 2nd Place (.5 behind Cleveland) The Tigers slipped down into 2nd place after losing 2-of-3 to the Cleveland Native Americans, and even though they didn’t win the series there were some things to like about how they played (and things not to like). The big news for today though, is that the Tigers put center fielder Austin Jackson on the 15-Day DL with a sore...

Tigers' Austin Jackson out with hamstring soreness

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland elected to give Austin Jackson a day off yesterday, allowing the center fielder to rest his sore hamstring. Leyland said Jackson could have played but was held out of the lineup for precautionary reasons, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com. "He can go," Leyland said, "but it's hard for him to really burn into that extra...

Avisail Garcia Recalled, Austin Jackson to DL With Hamstring Injury

Quick Detroit Tigers update from Monday morning … Austin Jackson has been placed on 15-day DL, retro to 5/12, w/pulled right hamstring. Avisail Garcia recalled from Toledo today. #tigers — Rick Thompson (@Thompson_Tigers) May 13, 2013 That’s a tough break for the Tigers, what with Jackson off to a strong start this season. However, he had struggled lately due to that hamstring...

Detroit Tigers Activate Phil Coke, Option Luke Putkonen

The Detroit Tigers have activated left-handed pitcher Phil Coke from the 15-day disabled list after having strained his left groin a few weeks back. To make room for him on the active roster Luke Putkonen was optioned to their Triple-A Toledo minor league affiliate. Coke resumes the role as lefty specialist and late inning relief man. The post Detroit Tigers Activate Phil Coke...

Game 2013.37: Astros at Tigers

Detroit Tigers: 21-15, 1st Place (.5 ahead of Cleveland) Last night was not only the 5th consecutive game that the Tigers have won from the Houston Astros, but it was the 36th game of the season, which means it was the end of the 2nd inning, to revive a Billfer tradition, which was inspired by Bill Hoff.  If you divide up a 162-game season you get 9 18-game segments, which means...

Transaction Blog: Alburquerque Down, Reed Up

Stay current with all the roster movement and personnel decisions with the TigsTown Transaction Blog. After struggling and drawing criticism from manager Jim Leyland, the Tigers optioned Al Alburquerque to Toledo and recalled right-hander Evan Reed.

Tigers 6, Astros 2

Miguel Cabrera homered, Doug Fister pitched seven impressive innings and Andy Dirks gave the Tigers a lift for a second straight night in Detroit's 6-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday. Dirks hit a grand slam in Monday's 7-2 win over Houston, and a night later he capped a three-run fifth with a tiebreaking double. The Tigers added two more runs in the sixth, and...

First Pitch: Jackson to DL; Garcia called up

BY DAVE HOGGFOXSportsDetroit.com The Tigers knew they were going to have to find a roster spot for red-hot Avisail Garcia. They weren't expecting to come at the expense of Austin Jackson. Detroit placed Jackson on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a sore hamstring and called up Garcia, who has hit .432 after a spring-training heel problem caused him to get a late start on...

Austin Jackson To The DL – Tigers Recall Avisail Garcia

The Detroit Tigers Austin Jackson is going to require more than a few days off for his ailing right hamstring to heal. The Tigers placed the 26-year-old Jackson on the 15 day disabled list and recalled outfielder Avasail Garcia. Jackson, 26, is batting .272/.333/.371 with two homers and five stolen bases this season. Andy Dirks is likely going to hit in the leadoff spot normally...

Astros 7, Tigers 5

Brandon Barnes stood in center field and felt the wind blowing out a bit - an ominous sign when Miguel Cabrera is at the plate with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth inning. Sure enough, Cabrera lifted a deep flyball to right-center, forcing Barnes to race over with the game on the line. ''I just knew if he hit it out there, I'd have to get a good bead on it...

Talkin’ Tigers Week in Review: First Series of Year Shows Cleveland Indians May be Here to Stay

Each Monday, good or bad, we’ll look back at the biggest theme of the week that was for the Detroit Tigers. Though the Detroit Tigers dropped two closely contested games to the Washington Nationals over the week, the biggest story was plucky play of a Central Division rival over the weekend, who made an early season statement by winning two of three games in the Motor City. Following...

Tigers-Rangers Preview

Justin Verlander says it's May. Yu Darvish says it's not the first great opposing pitcher he's faced, and won't be his last. True on all counts. These showdowns don't come along every day, though. And this one - the AL's strikeout king against his potential heir - is an enticing as they come. The hard-throwing right-handers from Detroit and Texas will meet...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.