Edwin Jackson threw 135 pitches in his last start prior to Sunday. How tired was his arm yesterday in the follow-up start? So tired he threw 8 shutout innings to lower his ERA to 2.30, second only to Zach Greinke in the AL. He gave up 2 hits, 1 walk and struck out 7
What is interesting about Jackson’s improvement in 2009 is that his control isn’t any better. Last year, 38.0% of his pitches were called balls. This year, the number is actually up a little to 38.5%.
So what is the difference? So far in 2009 his fastball, slider and changeup are all being thrown harder. His fastball is up from 94.8 to 95.4. His slider from 85.4 to 87.1 and the change from 86.5 to 87.1.
But more telling is the confidence he now has in those secondary pitches. Last year Jackson threw 67.7% fastballs, with 23.5% sliders and 8.8% changeups. This year he only throws the fastball 61.0% of the time while his slider is up to 27.3% and the change is up to 11.7%.
All of these numbers add up to a 20.6% increase in swinging strikes.
We have long said that one of these years Jackson would put it all together and contend for a Cy Young award. But nobody could have foreseen that it would happen this quickly.
Edwin Jackson throws eight shutout innings in Tigers’ win over Orioles [Mlive.com]