Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann has been voted American League Pitcher of the Month for April.
Zimmermann compiled a 5-0 record with a 0.55 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 33.0 innings pitched over five appearances to claim his first career Pitcher of the Month Award, and the first for the Tigers since Justin Verlander in September 2012. Among qualifying starters in the AL (minimum 20.0 innings), Zimmermann finished first in ERA, tied for first in wins, second in innings pitched and 10th in strikeouts. The right-hander held opponents to a .224 batting average and has given up just one home run.
In his fourth start of the season on April 25th against the Oakland Athletics, Washington's second round pick in the 2007 MLB Draft had his consecutive scoreless innings streak snapped at 24.1 innings. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Zimmermann became the first starting pitcher to begin his tenure with a team with a scoreless streak of 20.0-or-more innings since Fred Norman began his time with the Cincinnati Reds in 1973 with 26.0 consecutive innings of shutout baseball. Zimmermann's streak was the longest by a Tigers pitcher to begin a season and is tied for the eighth-longest by any MLB pitcher to start a season in the Expansion Era (since 1961). Additionally, the eight-year-veteran became the first starting pitcher in franchise history to not allow a run in his first three starts of a season. In Zimmermann's last start of the month on April 30th against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field, the two-time NL All-Star tossed seven innings of one-run ball, while yielding six hits and striking out seven. With his win, Zimmermann, who signed as a free agent this past offseason, became the first Tigers pitcher to win each of his first five starts of a season since Frank Tanana did so in 1988. The right-hander's 0.55 ERA (33 IP/ 2 ER) in April is the third-lowest in Tigers history (min. 25.0 IP), trailing only Bernie Boland, who had a 0.30 ERA in April 1915 and John Hiller, who logged a 0.36 ERA in 1974. Since 1969, Zimmermann's MLB-leading ERA in April is the fourth-lowest among all Major League pitchers (min. five starts). Fernando Valenzuela of the Los Angeles Dodgers recorded a 0.20 ERA in April of his NL Cy Young Award-winning season in 1981 and a 0.21 ERA in April of 1985, while Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals delivered a 0.50 ERA during his AL Cy Young Award-winning season in 2009.
Only Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox received additional AL Pitcher of the Month votes after going 5-0 with a 1.66 ERA and 32 strikeouts over 38.0 innings pitched. The four-time AL All-Star delivered a complete-game shutout against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 15th.
The American League Pitcher of the Month, Jordan Zimmermann, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for his accomplishment.