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Detroit Tigers: Importance of a resurgent Jordan Zimmermann

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Jun 3, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) makes a throw to first against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 3, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) makes a throw to first against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers fans have seen starter Jordan Zimmermann pitch to much better stats in his past few starts. A turnaround from the veteran will be key for the Tigers moving forward.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Jordan Zimmermann has seen an uptick in productivity as of late.

The veteran starter, who is in his second season in the Motor City, got off to an up-and-down start to the season with the Tigers in 2017.

Zimmermann posted some encouraging stats, like a six inning start, with four hits, one run and a walk allowed on April 8 against Boston.

However, he also struggled mightily at times, including allowing 21 hits, 10 earned runs, three home runs and a walk allowed in a 12-inning stretch in two April starts against Tampa Bay and Seattle.

Overall, the pitcher failed to look anything like the hurler who snagged All-Star honors and Cy Young votes for the Washington Nationals in consecutive seasons from 2013 to 2014.

That was, until June 3, when Zimmermann started to look more like the former All-Star, as well as the pitcher who allowed just two runs in his first 33 innings in a Detroit uniform in early 2016.

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Recent success

Since the start of his June 3 outing against Chicago, 31-year-old has rattled off three consecutive quality starts.

In said starts, he’s racked up 20 innings, allowing 19 hits, five runs and five walks.

Zimmermann has also had issues with home runs this season, with 17 long balls surrendered so far—up from 14 in 30.1 more innings last year.

However, Zimmermann gave up just one home run in his last three starts.

Ground balls

What is also encouraging about Jordan Zimmermann’s recent run of form is that he’s inducing more grounders.

In his past three starts, the starter has gotten nine, 11 and 11 ground balls.

Leading up to the June 3 start, his ground ball numbers in his previous 10 starts included the following totals: six, one, five, 11, three, three, nine, six, eight and nine.

Keeping the ball on the ground more will help combat the home run numbers, which should allow Zimmermann to continue to pitch later into games and be more effective for the Detroit Tigers.

Just last Wednesday, the starter went eight innings for only the third time in his career in a Detroit uniform.

Future implications

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If he continues to pitch in an effective manner, Zimmermann will certainly makes the rest of his contract look much better.

What’s more, he’ll be in an excellent position to put the Tigers back into the playoffs if he can find success.

So far, Detroit’s rotation has seen Michael Fulmer post strong numbers, Justin Verlander struggle at times and both Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd perform inconsistently.

In other words, there hasn’t been a ton of stability.

In fact, Buck Farmer’s (the team’s sixth starter) four starts pretty much serve as a microcosm for Detroit’s starting pitchers this season.

Farmer looked excellent in his first two outings, before getting shellacked in his last two.

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That’s the Tigers rotation in a nut shell, and having a consistently effective Zimmermann in the mix would certainly help Detroit make some much-needed noise in the playoff race.

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