Inside Pitch: Rotation Success

The Tiger rotation has been running on all cylinders, and that fact is backed up by a very promising stat that happens to lead all of Major League Baseball. What is it? Plus, when will Dmitri Young return to action after sitting much of the past week with a sore quad?

One of the signs of Detroit's successful starting pitching this season is low pitch counts.

The Tigers are averaging a tad over 131 pitches a game, lowest in the majors by six pitches per game.

Detroit's starters are throwing less than 15 pitches per inning, again the lowest in the majors, with four of the five in the top 10 in the American League. Jeremy Bonderman is second at 13.7 while Nate Robertson, Kenny Rogers and Justin Verlander are eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively.

"When there's fewer pitches, it's normally a sign of good stuff or real good control," manager Jim Leyland said. "If you're staying out of the middle of the plate, it's real good control. And if it's good stuff, normally hitters don't want to get behind in the count. With Kenny Rogers, it's probably a matter of excellent control. And with Bonderman, it's probably a matter of stuff.

"But up to this point, that's probably one of the most positive things on our club is that we've been able to get innings out of our starters and pretty much get a minimal pitch count. That doesn't happen very often. That's been one of the plusses."

--DH Dmitri Young expects to be in the starting lineup Tuesday night when Detroit hosts Minnesota. "I could have played," he said Sunday. "That's how good I feel. But I really think I'll be able to go on Tuesday." Young rested his sore quad last weekend instead of pushing it with baseball-related activities. "I think I was working myself too hard to get back," Young said. "Sometimes it's best to back off just a bit."

--RHP Todd Jones expects to be ready to close games for Detroit on Tuesday when the Tigers get back into action. Jones was held out of a save situation Sunday after reporting following Saturday's save that his right knee was a little tender. Jones said he hurt the knee a week before that, but it didn't bother much until Saturday night, when he clocked his ninth save in 10 tries this season.

--LHP Nate Robertson starts Tuesday night for Detroit, seeking to become the fifth Tigers' starter with four wins. All told, Detroit starters have 22 of the team's 24 victories. "That's probably a little rare," manager Jim Leyland said. "They're feeding off each other a little bit right now."

--RHP Roman Colon has yet to appear in a game for Detroit since being brought up when RHP Jordan Tata was sent to the minors. Colon probably will see his first action in a non-crucial situation until he starts building his arm back up. He pitched less than seven innings for Toledo after being activated off the disabled list before being called up by Detroit.

--1B Chris Shelton's bat is coming back to life. Shelton had two hits in each of Detroit's three games in Cleveland during the weekend after a stretch of sub-.200 hitting following his hot start. Shelton is cutting down on his swing again, swinging at fewer bad pitches, and just trying to drive the ball where it's pitched. His manager felt he was becoming a little home run conscious after belting nine in Detroit's first 13 games.

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