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Afternoon Prowl: Justin Verlander, Alex Avila, Sparky Anderson

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Justin Verlander Gains Efficiency While Maintaining Strikeouts " Detroit Jock City | A Detroit Sports blog
Matt Snyder writes of the fallacy of decreasing your strikeouts to increase pitching efficiency. Justin Verlander is maintaining his K/9 this season while going deeper into games than ever. He also has a career-best 15.2 pitches per inning. Snyder says this is all a result of becoming a better pitcher, not trying to simply pitch to contact.

Tiger Tales: A Detroit Tigers Blog: Avila on Pace for Historic Season
Lee Panas notes Alex Avila is currently having the best season by a Tigers catcher ever, as measured in OPS+. Can he continue the pace in the second half? We shall see. Even if he doesn't finish atop the list he'll certainly find himself in good company with Bill Freehan, Mickey Cochrane, Rudy York, Mickey Tettleton and Pudge Rodriguez.


VOTE AVILA

Speaking of Vote Avila, if you're on Twitter you noticed @WhosYourTiger and @justinverlander (verified!) both use for their icon a poster created by the Tigers blogosphere's own Samara Pearlstein. (The one in our sidebar). Pretty cool for Sam.

Guillen to begin rehab assignment at Class A | tigers.com: News
Carlos Guillen is beginning rehab with Class A Lakeland. He has not yet re-injured himself as far as we know. At some point he will end up in Toledo, and if all goes well Detroit. Oddsmakers?

Thoughts from Sparky’s #11 retirement ceremony " Beck's Blog

Columnists | Bittersweet ceremony for Sparky brings closure | The Detroit News
I just decided to combine these two links for a good recap of what the ceremony honoring Sparky Anderson meant to friends, ex-players and fans.

Beyond the Box Score Power Rankings: Week 12 - Beyond the Box Score
I don't always look at power rankings, but when I do I choose Beyond the Box Score because theirs make sense.

Identifying the Streakiest Teams in MLB - Beyond the Box Score
It will come as no surprise to you that the Tigers are among the most streaky teams in baseball. A streak is defined as three games winning or losing. They have 15 wins streaks and 10 losing streaks by this measure. (They and the Twins are the only teams to have double digits in both categories.) The Red Sox lead the majors with 9 losing and 22 winning.

Stuff That Baseball Broadcasters Like - Royals Review
Thankfully not many of these apply to Mario and Rod.

Best story of first half? Try the Pirates - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN
Good news! The Pirates, who took 2 of 3 from thee Tigers, do not suck nearly as bad as normal. They also took 2 of 3 from Boston and knocked them into second place.

Baseball Prospectus | Transaction Analysis Blog: White Sox Disable Danks
John Danks may not have had gaudy stats, but he pitched better than his ERA and the White Sox will miss him, R.J. Anderson wrote.

Twins’ momentum vanishes as they fall back into last place | HardballTalk
The Twins had all the momentum in the world and scared Tigers fans nationwide and .. suddenly lost it. Even longtime blogger Aaron Gleemen notes how hard it will be for Minnesota to catch up to Detroit. They'll have to win at a .640 clip the rest of the season to get to 87 wins. Possible? I suppose. They have played the fewest number of home games in the division (30, nine less than the Tigers.) But hard to believe for a team that has the worst record in the league