What was expected to be a big night for the Tigers’ pitching staff at Triple-A Toledo ended up producing some disappointing results. Both Rick Porcello and Ryan Perry struggled for the Mud Hens against Gwinnett Tuesday night at Fifth Third Field.
Porcello, making his second start for the Hens since being optioned out of Detroit, gave up five runs on 10 hits in six innings with three walks and three strikeouts. He produced 10 ground-ball outs compared with one in the air, but the hit total obviously nullified. Word from Toledo is that he threw a heavy dose of sliders, likely by design as he tries to nail down that pitch in his arsenal.
“My breaking ball was pretty good today,” Porcello told reporters. “I didn’t give up any hits on my breaking ball. The guys I was trying to get ahead of with the fastball were jumping on the fastball and getting hits. I can’t start everybody off with a breaking ball, so maybe I need to start guys off with the four-seamers away, then come back with breaking balls or the sinker.
“I’m still trying to figure things out myself; that’s why I’m down here. It’s frustrating. The bottom line is that there’s a lot of stuff I need to figure out down here.”
Perry followed his roommate to begin the seventh and battled his command, throwing just 16 of his 36 pitches for strikes. He gave up an unearned run on two walks and a well-hit double over his 1 2/3 innings. His outing took on extra importance in light of Joel Zumaya’s season-ending injury, but it looks clear he has a little work to do.
“When he got hit, he was either behind or 3-2 in the count,” manager Larry Parrish said. “When they knew what was coming [the fastball] – at any level, when they know what’s coming, they can get the bat started. He looks like he’s healthy; it’s just a matter of getting ahead in the count. When he’s missing, he’s missing down. But he’s still missing, whether it’s down or up, and being behind is not where he wants to be, especially when he starts facing good hitters.”