In the 4-1 win today against the Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers pitcher Jordan Zimmermann earned the right to be called the Ace.
Zimmermann is currently sitting with a record of five wins and zero losses. While the win-loss record is not an accurate representation of a pitcher’s ability, Zimmermann’s win-loss record does speak volumes about his ability to get the win. He is pitching better than any other pitcher in the MLB has ever pitched in his first five starts in April.
There are only three pitchers in this current season who have won their first five starts: Zimmermann, Jake Arrieta, and Chris Sale. Of the three, Zimmermann has pitched in 33 innings, Arrieta has pitched in 36, and Sale in 38. Arrieta has a 1.00 ERA. Sale’s ERA is 1.66, and Zimmermann’s ERA is a 0.55.
Since the pitching mound was lowered in 1969, Zimmermann currently has the lowest ERA in all of MLB pitching in the first five starts. This stat was reported during the Fox Sports Detroit Tigers Live show after the game. This honor puts him in the company of pitchers like Felix Hernandez and Greg Maddux.
When the Tigers signed Zimmermann to the hefty five-year contract in the off-season, he was expected to be a solid pitcher who would get 30 starts. He had 33 starts in 2015 – this stat lead the National League. In 2013, he led the National League in wins, with 19. But, no one expected this pitcher to start the season setting his records like he is.
His current stats include an AL-leading WAR of 1.5, an AL-leading ERA of 0.55, and an AL-leading adjusted ERA of 1093. Opposing teams have scored four runs during Zimmermann’s time on the mound and only two of those runs were considered an earned run. He has yet to allow a home run.
So, is it safe to say that Jordan Zimmermann can be called the “Ace” of the team? Yes.
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With the ups and downs of the starting pitching this season, Zimmermann has been the only consistent pitcher – at least the only consistently positive pitcher. Mike Pelfrey has consistently put batters on base, with his 1.922 WHIP and league-leading 0-4 record. Justin Verlander is 2-2 with a 5.46 ERA and six allowed home runs. Anibal Sanchez has an ERA of 6.08 with a record of 3-2 and 5 allowed home runs. And, Shane Greene has an ERA of 6.28 with a record of 1-2.
When comparing Zimmermann to the rest of the starting pitchers, he is the only one with “Ace” statistics.
The ace of the pitching staff should be the “first” starter in the rotation and should be the pitcher who starts on Opening Day. While JV started on the official Opening Day game that was played in Miami, Zimmermann did get the start at the first game at Comerica Park.
Since Verlander has been with the Tigers, he has pitched on Opening Day in 2008 through 2014. David Price pitched on Opening Day last season. If Zimmermann continues on his record-setting pace, there is no doubt that the decision-makers in the front office will officially tag him with the title of “Detroit Tigers Pitching Ace” and will give him the ball on Opening Day 2017.