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Fulmer's career start mirrors Verlander's in 2006

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer

Detroit -- The last Tigers rookie of the year was Justin Verlander, in 2006.

Ten years later, they might have another, in Michael Fulmer, who certainly is in the discussion.

Any other parallels you see, Brad Ausmus?

"They're both right-handed," he deadpanned.

The truth is, Ausmus didn't see Verlander much when he was younger, so he probably isn't the best person to ask -- offering only the assessment that Verlander is more fiery on the mound, while Fulmer is more calm. Both also have strong beard games, for what that's worth.

Other than that, let's go to the numbers.

They're pretty intriguing.

Through his first 10 starts this season, Fulmer is 7-2 with a 2.43 ERA, .216 opponents' batting average, .296 opponents' on-base percentage, and .349 opponents' slugging percentage.

Through his first 10 starts of 2006, Verlander was 7-3 with a 2.55 ERA, .236 opponents' batting average, .293 opponents' on-base percentage, and .358 opponents' slugging percentage.

All pretty darn comparable.

There's one stat that is wildly different, though, and that's strikeouts.

And would you believe, Fulmer has the upper hand there?

Full-speed Maybin might've gone for inside-the-park HR

Through 59⅓ innings, Fulmer has 57 strikeouts. In his first 10 starts of 2006, in which he through 67 innings, Verlander, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 draft, struck out just 39. In fact, Verlander didn't really become a strikeout-an-inning guy until 2009.

Verlander finished 2006 with a 17-9 record, 3.63 ERA and 1.328 WHIP, earning all but two first-place votes in the rookie-of-the-year voting. (Francisco Liriano and Nick Markakis got the others.) He was the Tigers' first rookie of the year since Lou Whitaker in 1978, and Detroit's first pitcher to win since Mark Fidrych in 1976.

Interestingly, Ausmus said Fulmer, the 44th overall pick in the 2011 draft acquired in the trade with the New York Mets last July, has benefited from following Verlander by a day in the rotation. They don't have the same arsenal, but it's close, and he gets to see how Verlander attacks hitters and how hitters react.

"It certainly doesn't hurt," said Ausmus, "to watch some of the swings they take off Verlander."

Verlander started for the Tigers on Tuesday night against the Seattle Mariners, and Fulmer gets the ball Wednesday night.

Around the horn

Veteran infielder Casey McGehee, up for just a few days with the Tigers before being DFA'd to make room for more bullpen help, has cleared waivers and has been reassigned to Triple A Toledo.

"He didn't do anything wrong," Ausmus said. "He had one at-bat, against Wade Davis."

Once the Tigers stabilize the rotation and bullpen, Ausmus said it wouldn't be surprised to see McGehee, who has hit well in Toledo, back up with the Tigers.

... The Tigers still were buzzing about not just Justin Upton's walk-off home run Monday night, but also Jose Iglesias' animated, um, celebration.
"I don't know if Jose could've planned that," Cameron Maybin said, laughing. "I might have to watch it one more time today."

... Miguel Cabrera's home run that left Comerica Park on Monday night also gave him 423 homers for his career, tying Adrian Beltre for 49th all-time.

... Odd stat: The Tigers have given up 14 hits, in seven games, to guys named Marte this season: Ketel (four), Jefry (four) and Starling (six).

... Reliever Warrick Saupold (right groin) is nearing a minor-league rehab assignment, perhaps as early as Thursday.

MARINERS AT TIGERS

First pitch: 7:10 Wednesday, Comerica Park, Detroit

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Scouting report

RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (6-5, 4.18), Mariners: Veteran has been solid all season, if not spectacular. He has gone seven innings in each of his last five starts.

RHP Michael Fulmer (7-2, 2.43), Tigers: His weeks-long scoreless-innings streak finally ended last time out, but he still was dominant. It's becoming the norm.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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