Edwin Jackson has pitched well enough this season that he probably should have more wins than he does. He certainly believed he was in line for one in his last start before the Detroit Tigers’ bullpen collapsed.
Jackson hopes for a little better support from his teammates Monday night in the opener of a two-game set with the Minnesota Twins.
Jackson (1-1, 2.25 ERA) has one of the lowest ERAs in the AL, but lack of run support has been a major reason why he’s been unable to rack up wins. Detroit (13-11) has scored seven runs over his 32 innings of work.
The right-hander was especially strong Tuesday against the New York Yankees, allowing four hits over six scoreless innings. The Tigers, however, gave up 10 runs in the seventh and went on to lose 11-0.
“Jackson was tremendous, but we had a young pitcher out there in (reliever Ryan) Perry and he had a rough night,” manager Jim Leyland said. “That’s going to happen, but we didn’t do the job of shutting the floodgates behind him.”
Jackson is 1-2 with a 9.42 ERA in three starts and three relief appearances against the Twins (12-13).
The Tigers are looking to build on their momentum after winning two of three against Cleveland over the weekend, including 3-1 on Sunday. Justin Verlander pitched seven strong innings, allowing one run and two hits, while Brandon Inge homered and Curtis Granderson and Magglio Ordonez each drove in a run.
“This is a really good win for us,” Leyland said. “It was dictated by pitching, just like most games.”
Leyland’s team will try to hand its AL Central rival a third straight loss. Minnesota dropped the final two games of a three-game set with Kansas City, including 7-5 on Sunday. Scott Baker took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning, but gave up five consecutive hits, including a three-run homer to Jose Guillen, while failing to record an out.
“The game did a 360 on us,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I don’t know if he hit a wall. It looked like he just couldn’t make a pitch after he gave up that one hit.”
That came after the Twins fell 10-7 in 11 innings on Saturday. Minnesota has given up 10 or more hits in each of the last four games and its starters went 1-1 with a 7.94 ERA against the Royals.
Now, Francisco Liriano (0-4, 6.04) will try to avoid exceeding his total losses from last year. The left-hander did not receive a decision against Tampa Bay on Tuesday after giving up two runs and seven hits over 6 2-3 innings of a 4-3 win.
“I know he’s been feeling a little rough and worried a little bit, but he can raise his head right there,” Gardenhire said. “He did a super job against a very good baseball team.”
Liriano is 2-1 with a 4.93 ERA in seven appearances - five starts - against the Tigers, but 0-1 with an 8.25 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance against them in Detroit.
Minnesota went 11-7 against the Tigers last season, including 5-4 at Comerica Park.