ST. PETERSBURG -- What was wrong with Justin Verlander? Pitching coach Jeff Jones went back "a couple of years" in the Tigers' archives to find out.
On Saturday night, after allowing the Tampa Bay Rays to score three runs on nine hits in a no-decision, Verlander revealed he had changed the tilt of his shoulders after working with Jones in the bullpen following his previous start.
The changes worked.
"I thought that was the best he's thrown in a while," manager Jim Leyland said.
Jones said he watched Verlander throw on the sidelines and reviewed films of his games for the past couple of years, searching for the answer as to why the Tiger right-hander has been struggling this season.
What Jones discovered was that Verlander's front arm was "getting higher and higher."
"Justin has a great feel for when he does something wrong," Jones said. "But he didn't feel this one."
"I felt my fastball command was much better right out of the gate," Verlander said.
Scherzer could pitch himself into history
ST. PETERSBURG -- Max Scherzer, the winningest pitcher in the American League and one of the leading candidates to start the All-Star Game for the AL, goes for his 13th win without a loss on Wednesday when the Tigers play Toronto.
With another victory, Scherzer will match Ron Guidry, who began the 1978 season with a 13-0 record for the Yankees. Guidry won the AL Cy Young Award that season. Roger Clemens, who is next in line at 14-0 for Boston in 1986, won both Cy Young and MVP honors.
Scherzer is second in the AL in strikeouts with 131. He trails Yu Darvish of Texas.
Dave McNally (1969) and Johnny Allen (1937) both began the season 15-0.
Of the four, only Clemens in 1986 was the starting pitcher in that summer's All-Star Game.
• Jhonny Peralta got a day off on Sunday as Leyland continued to rest his starters on this 11-game road trip.
"I'm trying to give everybody a day off if I can," the manager said.
The Tigers will play seven games in a row on artificial turf.
• Depending upon Monday's weather, Anibal Sanchez will either make a Minor League rehab start for the Tigers' Gulf Coast League team or for the Class A Lakeland Tigers. If not, he will either pitch in a simulated game or throw indoors at the Tigers' spring training complex.
• Even through rookie Bruce Rondon took the loss in Saturday night's game after allowing three singles and a wild pitch in the 10th inning, Leyland expects Rondon to be a prominent part of the Tigers' bullpen.
"He's going to be a very usable guy for us," Leyland said on Sunday.
• Comparing low-keyed Drew Smyly to high-intensity Phil Coke, Leyland said, "Smyly snores while he plays checkers and Coke is revving all over the place."
Jim Hawkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.