This spring hasn’t been all that great if you’ve been looking for a reason to be optimistic about the 2009 season. The Tigers are coming off of a 74-88 season and this spring just has not been great.
Today, against the Astros, Justin Verlander pitched deeper into a game than any Tigers starter this spring as he lasted six full innings. In his six innings of work Verlander gave up only one hit and one run as he walked three and struck out two.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Verlander’s start was that he needed less than 70 pitches to get through his six innings of work. Those of us who watched Verlander pitch in 2008 often saw him up and over 100 pitches by the sixth inning on most occasions.
The Tigers ended up tying the Astros 1-1 this afternoon, but that was not the story. If Verlander can consistently keep the Tigers in games through six innings while keeping his pitch count low he’ll be twice the pitcher he was last year and a lot closer to the guy we saw in 2006 and 2007.