Zimmermann claims AL pitcher prize for April

Tigers right-hander earns Pitcher of the Month after 5-0 start

Zimmermann claims AL pitcher prize for April

CLEVELAND -- Jordan Zimmermann's April stats were some of the best opening-month numbers for a pitcher in Major League history. For this season, they were good enough to earn him the American League Pitcher of the Month Award.

It's the first monthly honor for Zimmermann, who earned two NL Player of the Week Awards in 2014 during his Washington Nationals tenure. It's the first monthly pitcher award for the Tigers since Justin Verlander won it in September '12.

For Zimmermann -- who became one of the first major pitching free agents to sign last offseason, with a five-year, $110 million deal over Thanksgiving weekend -- the honor is a pretty good statement for the signing. The 29-year-old right-hander tossed three consecutive scoreless outings to begin his Detroit tenure, covering 19 1/3 innings.

No Tigers pitcher had done that to open a season in franchise history. By the time Zimmermann finally gave up a run, he was midway through his fourth outing, and it did little to halt his charge to a fourth victory. He completed his month with seven innings of one-run ball to beat the Twins on Saturday.

Zimmermann is the sixth pitcher to finish April with five or more wins, zero losses and a sub-1.00 ERA. He joins Fernando Valenzuela (1981), Randy Johnson (2000), Cliff Lee ('08), Zack Greinke ('09) and Ubaldo Jimenez ('10).

"I'm pitching probably the best I've ever pitched in my career," Zimmermann said.

Zimmermann is the first Detroit pitcher to win each of his first five starts to a season since Frank Tanana in 1988. Zimmermann's 0.55 ERA is the third lowest in April in franchise history, behind Bernie Boland's 0.30 ERA in 1915 and John Hiller's 0.36 ERA in '74.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.