The path has been different. His earned run average looks a bit strange. But there’s nothing wrong with the bottom line that counts the most. For the first time in his career, with the help of Friday night’s 7-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night, Justin Verlander has eight wins after his first 13 starts. He’s had seven wins after 13 starts four times, but never eight. Never eight before now, that is. And while the victory looked somewhat in jeopardy when Jose Valverde gave up two home runs and a single in the ninth, the Tigers hung on to win By lasting seven innings while his teammates roughed up Indians’ starter Ubaldo Jimenez, Verlander improved his record to 8-4. His ERA rose for the fifth consecutive start, but it’s not the first time the perfect mix at this point of the season has eluded him. Last year, for instance, Verlander had a 2.69 ERA after 13 starts. But it was as if he’d foreseen his own future after winning 24 games in 2011. “I might pitch better next year and not win as much,” he said at the time. He was right. His 2.69 ERA in 2012 was the lowest of his career after 13 starts. But his record was 5-4. So here he is with a 3.71 ERA, the second highest it’s been through 13 starts and he’s won eight times. It’s all about keeping your team in the game, of course, and while encountering a few bumps this season, Verlander has done exactly that. Anyway, if the choice is presented to you, which do you choose: The 2.69 ERA and five wins at this point; or the 3.71 ERA and eight wins? The eight? Thought so. “Everyone around here is spoiled,” manager Jim Leyland said in reply to a question about Verlander before the game. When the wording of the question was tweaked, and asked again, Leyland’s reply didn’t vary. “Like I said, everyone around here is spoiled.” This victory wasn’t exactly a Verlander gem, though.