Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 4/30/13
DETROIT Justin Verlander might have finally figured out April. If the Tigers ace has ever shown a weakness, it has been the first month of the season. He came into 2013 with a 11-15 record in April, including a 4.37 ERA. It's the only month where he hasn't had at least a .600 winning percentage, and it is also his worst ERA. This year, though, Verlander hasn't waited until May to start looking like a Cy Young candidate. The Tigers' 6-1 victory over the Twins gives him a 3-2 record for the month, but he could easily have four or five wins with a little more run support. His ERA of 1.83 and 41-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio give a better picture of how well he is pitching. "I'm pretty sure this is my last April start, right?" Verlander joked, knowing that May was only 90 minutes away. "Hopefully, this will be the end of the April issues, because I'm pretty happy with the way things have gone this time." As well as Verlander had pitched in his first five starts, there were still concerns. He hasn't come close to hitting triple figures on the radar gun, and pessimistic fans were worried that something was wrong with his arm. Tuesday, he topped out at 97 right where he expects to be. "In 2008, my velocity was down a little early in the season, and I tried to compensate for it by throwing the ball harder and harder," he said. "I learned my lesson that year. I know now that my power comes from my mechanics, so I know how to build things up and how to pitch my fastball instead of just throwing it. "I'm still throwing 96 and 97 and striking guys out. I'll get to 100, but this will work in the meantime." Verlander acknowledged that he didn't have his best stuff against the Twins, but he's proud of his ability to use what he has instead of trying to find something extra. "That's something that has come with experience," he said. "I know what I'm doing, and I'm able to hit spots and make smart pitches even if everything isn't perfect. That's why I'm not having another bad April." After blowing through the first inning with just eight pitches all strikes Verlander had a tough time in the second. He needed 30 pitches, and gave up an RBI double to former Tiger Wilkin Ramirez. "That was a discouraging inning for him," Jim Leyland said. "They got his pitch count up, and that cost him later in the game." The inning was just as frustrating for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "We had a lot of opportunities there, and we battled him on every one of them," he said. "He didn't have his A-game out there, but he made pitches when he really needed them. That's what great pitchers do when they absolutely need a pitch, they find something nasty." Verlander only allowed three hits in his last five innings, and the only runner to reach scoring position needed help from a passed ball. "We fought him with everything we had we always put up a good fight against him but that's why he has all those awards," Gardenhire said. With eight strikeouts, Verlander helped the Tigers tie an American League record with a fifth-straight 10-strikeout game. Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit got the last two that Detroit needed to become the eighth AL team to accomplish the feat the Red Sox have also done it this season. "It doesn't surprise me at all just look at this pitching staff," Verlander said. "Sanchez just struck out 17 guys, Fister struck out nine in a row last year, Scherzer strikes out more guys per inning than anyone and I've won a few strikeout titles. (Al) Alburquerque comes out of the pen and strikes out everyone that gets into the box, and the rest of the guys in the pen can strike guys out. That's what we do." The Tigers are three games away from Milwaukee's major-league record, set last season, but they have a realistic chance. Sanchez pitches Wednesday afternoon against Minnesota, followed by four games against the hapless Astros.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Best and worst from NBA All-Star Saturday night

WATCH: Klay Thompson can't go home unless he beats Steph Curry in 3-Point contest

Star players are hurting Houston Rockets

Emmitt Smith: Adrian Peterson only current player who could break rushing record

Coach K gets buzzer-beater win over Virginia for his birthday

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

Bethune-Cookman football player killed at party

Former UFC heavyweight Kevin Randleman dead at 44

WATCH: Chelsea scores three goals in less than 20 minutes

LaVine, Gordon put on best NBA dunk contest in years

WATCH: Thompson beats teammate Curry in 3-point contest

NFL teams, players hand out awesome Valentines

Earl Campbell ‘disappointed’ in Johnny Manziel, wants to help

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA skills challenge

MLB commish: Cubs will host All-Star Game in near future

WATCH: Memphis forward recreates Vince Carter's elbow dunk in game

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

QUIZ: Name every NBA All-Star Game MVP

Watch rare footage of Stephen Curry from 2001-02 emerges

Check out this custom camouflage Oregon helmet

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker