The predicament with Porcello

Rick Porcello wasn’t exactly cruising through three innings Sunday, but he was showing signs of working past the mechanical problems that plagued him the past couple starts. His sinker, while not consistent, had some bite to it, and he had a feel of changing speeds and mixing in sliders.

Then came the long rest of a seven-run third inning for the Tigers. And out came a different looking pitcher.

“He just got away from what he was doing,” manager Jim Leyland said. “I’m not defending him, because he’s got to close that game down. I’m not making any excuses, but he did sit there for a seven-run inning. But he got away from what he was doing. He started getting hurt with his slider. He had sinkers on the ground for the most part of the day, and then he went away from that, left a couple sliders up and they got hit.”

Leyland has to have patience with Porcello, because for almost three seasons of experience, he’s still just 22. Still, a little bit of frustration was fair, because a seven-run lead is normally a situation to cruise. And Leyland could see the inning unraveling, which is why he made the move as quickly as he did to Duane Below.

“Let’s face it, if he’s throwing really good and it doesn’t look like he’s in trouble, you might say, ‘Ok, I’m going to let him go ahead.’ But I didn’t like the way things were going,” Leyland said. “I didn’t like it. I felt like we had a better chance to come out of the inning with nothing more with the left-hander facing Choo, Cabrera and Hafner, than we did the things were unraveling on Porcello. I didn’t think Rick Porcello had a chance of coming out of that inning without giving up more runs, and I still believe that. Doesn’t mean I don’t have confidence in Rick Porcello. It just means today, that’s what you go on.

“The starting pitcher didn’t get the job done. I can’t hide from that. I’m not mad. I’m not being critical. That’s the facts. He’s gotta shut that down for a couple more innings and give us a chance to add on runs. I mean, we were milking outs from the fourth inning on.”

Before the game, I had asked Leyland about all the side work Porcello had put in (3-4 sessions worth) before this start. The real test, he pointed out, would be the game. He didn’t mean that critically, but that side sessions aren’t always an accurate gauge.

Now, Porcello and pitching coach Jeff Jones have four days to get him ready for Friday night’s series opener at Minnesota, and somehow figure out how to make the mechanics stick.

It’s a situation watch for the Tigers, who benefitted greatly from his five wins last month. Flat out, they need him effective if they’re going to go anywhere in October. They’ve obviously seen his best very recently. Even if it might feel like he’s spinning his wheels in recent days, he pretty much has to work through it here.


Watching the incredible game-ending throw from Austin Jackson I was surprised that Alex kept his mask on.
I wonder if he felt tthat he wanted the protection as he knew he might be bowled over.
Still, I have seen other guys toss their mask aside to get a better view of the throw.
Anyways, I was curious on that.

To me, it seemed like the Cleveland hitters were very disiplined. They take a lot of first pitches or take until they get a stike. Rick needs to get ahead of the hitters.

what a tremendous play at the end, terrific, just terrific. Throw could not have been more perfect and Alex did a great job too.

I know the players can go down into the locker area and take swings and such if they are not starting to get ready to go in late in the game. Can’t a pitcher, when sitting for too long, run down there and throw a couple balls just to keep loose? Or do something to keep them in the game instead of sitting on the bench waiting 20 minutes to go back out? I never have liked that excuse but hear it a lot so it obviously is a valid point, but I for one would think I would come up with something to keep my head in the game.

What a great sweep, impressive hitting. I was out of town this weekend – Traverse City for you Michigan folks, and it was gorgeous up there. Luckily most places had the Tigers on so got to see parts of the games. Went to see the Hens last night and saw Jacob Turner. Guy did well, but sure did bounce a lot of pitches to the plate, I bet I saw 4 of them last night, but all in all he threw a great game. Andy Dirks also had a great night, homerun, couple of rbi’s and a tremendous catch in left field that saved a double for sure.

Again, Brandon is singing the praises of Bull Durham down in Toledo – any reason he isn’t getting promoted to the bigs?

Betemit is batting better in Detroit than in KC – Delmon is batting great too. Remember when granderson had that great rookie season – that was MAC too. And their are many examples. So lets not hear the llyod mac complaints. Glad brandon is batting well since his return.

Maybe just a coinsedence, but I have a feeling that if Porcello can’t get out of the 4th next time we might see Turner again …

You can’t have it both ways, Evan. Yesterday you were calling him “pop fly Delmon” and wanting him to bat 8th. Today you’re extolling the virtues of Mac as a hitting coach for him. I’m not saying Mac is a poor coach, but sometimes changes need to be made just to get a fresh approach. Just seems most of our guys really like Durham and also seem to benefit from their time with him. I wouldn’t expect anything to happen at this point in the season.

well delmon was popping (or HR) out for days and he pretty much still is. however the point i’m making is that for nearly every player who bats below their average Mac get’s blamed for…..but when players bat above (e.g. peralta) that average, ppl usually don’t praise mac.

The Durham-Lloyd argument is interesting because you have to imagine if you’re sent back down to Toledo there is going to be a sense of urgency to perform better to make it back to Detroit with the big club. Same thing with pitchers and pitching coaches. Scherzer and Porcello are good examples of that last year. They righted the ship really quick once they got a reality check trip to Toledo.

surely the ability to “turn it around” in toledo is fully thanks to a pitching/hitting coach….much if it has to do with practicing on live bats (that will most likely not make you pay…as oppose to The Show) – as oppose to working on something in a side session.

How exactly was Inge singing the praises of Durham? We were inundated with so many Inge quotes that I may have missed that one. I had the impression Inge didn’t work on his hitting at all, just was “there” and now he’s magically all better.

For what it’s worth, I asked Inge Saturday night about working with Durham. He said they didn’t really talk about mechanics, just talked about mental approach. Haven’t talked to Bull about it, and given Inge’s stance I’m not sure how much to make of it, but I can’t tell if there was any overhaul.

The overlooked factor in Porcello’s collapse was the “warning” to both benches. Both pitchers were cruising through the top of the third, after the warning was issued, and then suddenly, guys were teeing off – the Tigers put up 7 in the bottom and Rick gave up his win in the top.
Look no further than Porcello’s approach to Hafner in the bottom of the 1st (sinkers & a slider inside) and the top 4th, when Hafner lined a fastball in the middle of the plate to 1st. Perhaps Porcello felt he had to “trick” guys with his slider when he couldn’t throw the hard sinker inside.
Jimenez also was leaving balls in the middle of the plate.
I’m not making an excuse for RP’s collapes, but think Joe West’s silly warning to both benches based on one pitch that got away. It was reactionary by the umpires (no surprise with West’s crew) and totally changed the game for both pitchers.

The warning was because he threw at the back of Cabrera.He pulled a Jared there after Cabrera, theirs , waited at home to see if the ball was fair or foul just like Magglio did.
You never throw the ball behind the batter because the natural reaction is to go back meaning that he will go to be hit by the pitch by himself.
He deserved the warning

More important than Porcello is why they did not call Omir Santos instead of Inge. Avila will break down if he continues without rest. JL rests, gtoo much, every player but Cabrera and the catcher.

I agree with this point. Very often I wonder if Alex is going to get a break soon – or will he himself break.

You know what a JV start means? I don’t mind raburn playing defense today!

Because of the warning, maybe both pitchers were “afraid” to go inside. If you have control and have command of your pitches, do not change your plan. As for Inge, he changed his attitude at Toledo and started having fun. Do you know how much pressure a player has if they are not performing at the Major League level?

i likely misspoke about Brandon singing the praises of Bull, my bad for bringing up a topic the wrong way. I was discussing with someone who told me Brandon said that and did not research it. Never pass along information you can’t back up yourself, so my bad.

That said, nothing I said was bad about what Lloyd has done, simply that I hear a lot of good things about Durham (maybe because of my living near Toledo) and wonder if he is worth a shot. Of course it is easier to hit in the minors, but I don’t think for a second that Brandon didn’t still have pressure on him to perform after being demoted. I don’t see that as taking the pressure off in any way, it adds to it for him to get right and return. What I did not like is reading that Brandon thought his team looked tight when watching games – he shouldn’t be saying what he thinks is wrong with teammates.

Either way – I like where things stand right now, can’t complain about being in first, hope we stay there the rest of the season. Just got tickets for when Cleveland is in town the end of September but am hoping that game won’t mean a darn thing!

Monday Lineup vs Tampa:
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Brennan Boesch, RF
3. Delmon Young, LF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, DH
6. Alex Avila, C
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
8. Wilson Betemit, 3B
9. Ramon Santiago, 2B

I’ve been thinking on Porcello. This guy is quite smart if I recall. Maybe he should start reading things like ‘the art of War’, or other mental exercises. His style of pitching reminds me of Tom Glavin or even our own Kenny Rodgers (although he was a lefty). My point is that Porcello needs another year of seasoning and experience. Maybe an offseason of not just physical conditioning but true mental exercise under the guidence of someone truly gifted.

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