Talent versus experience

There are a lot of ways to measure how long this three-city, nine-game road trip has been. The weight of my suitcase is one. But here’s another: A week ago, on the first stop of this trip, there were two scouts from other American League teams who were following the Tigers, and suggested that if it was up them, they would put Brad Penny in Detroit’s postseason rotation over Rick Porcello. The reason they cited was experience, plus an abundance of left-handed hitters from a potential opponent.

With a week left in the regular season, it’s increasingly difficult to see it happening. His recent experience has been a challenge.

Five starts have passed since Penny outpitched David Price in Tampa Bay, paving the path for the Tigers to take three out of four from the Rays and establish themselves among the teams to watch in the league. It was a prime example how valuable Penny can be in a big situation. Since then, Penny has given up 31 runs, 23 earned, on 41 hits over 25 innings, bumping his ERA a half-run to 5.31 for the season.

He has had stretches where he has shown the ability to cover quality innings even when he hasn’t had his best stuff. That wasn’t the case Tuesday, when an aggressive Royals lineup never quite let him off the ropes.

Manager Jim Leyland said after the game that he gave Penny a shot against Eric Hosmer with two outs in the fourth inning in a situation when he might have otherwise gone to one of his lefty relievers.

“He could’ve come out of there at 4-0,” Leyland said, “but I wanted to put that little challenge out there for him. Normally, I would’ve brought in the lefty for Hosmer and Francoeur. Just find out.”

Hosmer went deep for a three-run homer and a 7-0 Royals lead.

Porcello hasn’t quite had the same stuff that helped him go 5-0 in July, but he has been a lot better than he was in August. He also pitched in a playoff atmosphere in 2009. He’s scheduled to start Friday against the Orioles with a streak of three straight quality starts going. Both Porcello and Penny have one more start left after that — Penny against the O’s on Sunday, Porcello possibly the season finale against the Indians next Wednesday. One would expect that by the latter, we’ll know the Tigers rotation and order for the Division Series.

The thing with Penny is that his use as a reliever is somewhat limited. He’s someone who has a lengthy warmup routine when he starts, and it would be difficult to give them that much time to warm up in a relief situation unless it’s a game coming out of a rain delay. That said, he has the level of experience nobody out there does.

Starting is Penny’s best shot at the postseason. Right now, he’s struggling to find that form that made him valuable in playoff-type matchups before. It’s not a situation to take lightly, because like many veterans, Penny weighed the market last winter for another shot at the postseason.

29 Comments

Hey Tiger Girl, we posted on the last thread a minute apart. Pitching, pitching, pitching. So Penny has been given the test and he failed. I would not play him over Porcello. Rick will be here in the future and Penny will not. “Normally I would bring in a lefty” That just solidified it for me. SOC not LOC.

I thought the test was appropriate for penny – if he couldn’t get that young (albiet very good) kid out. Good test by the skip

I would take Porcello over Penny any day of the week, experience or not. To me, you want the guy who gives you the best shot at winning, no matter their level of experience. If JL had the confidence to go with Rick in game 163 in 2009, then why go with Penny now when he has struggled so much lately (that’s an understatement). Rick is pitching much better RIGHT NOW, so I see it as a no-brainer.

Jason, a little off-topic, but considering Penny’s struggles maybe not. Was wondering if you think the Tigers will hire a new pitching coach or if Jeff Jones will be retained? If looking outside the organization for next year, I wondered if they would consider Steve McCatty (a Michigan resident), who is presently with the Washington Nationals.

The discussion of who is the postseason starter is a non-starter, so to speak. I’m not even sure I want Penny to pitch against Baltimore on Sunday, much less in the playoffs. The game will be either in Fenway Park or home against the Yankees. Is this even in question? It’s Porcello. I think I can speak for most fans when I say that JL can blow every bit of good will he’s built up in the past six weeks if he sticks Penny in there.
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The race is down to its simplest terms now. Both Detroit and Texas have 8 games left. Texas needs to win one more game than we do. If they don’t, we open at home next Friday. We hold the tiebreaker, a 6-3 mark over the Rangers.

“there were two scouts from other American League teams who were following the Tigers, and suggested that if it was up them, they would put Brad Penny in Detroit’s postseason rotation over Rick Porcello.”
Undoubtedly these scouts had to have been from NY, Bost, TB or Texas!!
I can see why THEY would recommend Penny!

i did think that same thing. harhar

Rich, excellent. If I were the manager, Penny has pitched his last game for me. Show me what you can do, 3-run homer. New test, pine warmer.

This should not even be considered as a serious debate. In truth, I don’t think it is. This is another media made contrivance.
Experience? I can name a lot of retired pitchers with experience.
BTW, didn’t Porcello pitch game #163? Didn’t he pretty much shut the Twins down, blow away hitters with K’s and keep the Tigers in the game till the 6th or 7th inning?
That must count for some experience.
Porcello has certainly faced more American League hitters than Penny has.
Doesn’t that count for experience?
Rick Porcello is going to be a front of the rotation starter, if not already. He is one pitch away from becoming a very difficult pitcher to hit. Might not be a real good idea to turn a cold shoulder on him at this point in his career as a Detroit Tiger.
If Penny were thrown into the ring in the playoffs how much would experieince play into it with no self-confidence? Self confidence is not defined as arrogance. He has plenty of that. But you know darn well he (and we) would be waiting for the opposition to to pummel his offerings by the 3rd inning.

I agree it is Porcello over Penny. However somebody mentioned that Rick was good enough for game 163. What I have to say to that is Porcello is not the same pitcher he was in 2009. Truth be told I don’t trust either of them and dnt have a lot more faith in Max. He gives up waaaaay too many bombs as witnessed in Oakland on Friday. And remember that is in a park which doesn’t give up many homers, by a team that doesn’t hit them!! I certianly don’t want Max pitching in any of these homer friendly parks (which means any of them). I would rather have him pitching at home.

That’s oakland on thursday

I think a desire to have Max pitch at home has a lot to do with this piggyback start tonight. Funny, I don’t recall any discussions in 2006 regarding who to put on the postseason roster.
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If there are rainouts during the playoffs, I’d like to see JL use that to advantage. I’m afraid he’ll doggedly stick to his 4-man rotation like he did in 2006. If you’ve got a chance to get more starts for Verlander or Fister, that overrides any concerns about another starter having too long a layoff.

Rich: Amen Brother!
It is time for JL to realize that logic prevails over formula.

There’s a lot of talk today about Eric Hosmer. I go back to what I said last night: bust him inside, way up and inside. Two pitches later, do it again. That young man is way too comfortable up there. He jumped out over the plate so much his foot nearly ended ON the plate. If he can continue to hit us this way after that dose of medicine, I will tip my cap and pay the fine. Tonight’s our last time seeing him until next year. Let’s leave him with some nice parting gifts to consider over the winter.
I nominate Fister for the job, because Scherzer is liable to kill Eric if he tries it, and that’s not the plan. At least not yet…………..
Heck, I’d recommend the White Sox do the same with Raburn.

Fister is pretty good at giving that kinda medicine. Mister F. has good that cutter that’ll learn’em

On a side note, i think it’s important to remember that the SOC has won a) a world series, b) 2 NL manager of the year awards and c) an AL manager of the year award. He’s also taken us to the WS with a very young team and has us primed for great run this year. So lets try to give him the benefit of the doubt a little.

He’s getting the benefit of the doubt and also a doubtful benefit. :-) His past record includes those accomplishments, but it also includes his stubborn use of the same rotation throughout the 2006 postseason when he could have done otherwise. On that I’m basing my above comment. It cuts both ways.

fair enough, although i thought we did pretty good in the 2006 playoffs :p

And another note, what was the opinions concerning BELOW and his craptastic performance last night (in regards to his postseason chances)? IMO he’s not very good -> the game before this he gave 2 walks up (sept. 15th, i think he just pitched 1 inning) and the game before that was the 18-2 mollywhopping—where he gave 2 ER on 3 hits in again, just 1 inning. I want to see below in ST next year fighting for a spot on the MLB roster……not in my postseason roster

Today’s lineup:
Jackson CF, Kelly 1B, Young LF, Martinez DH, Avila C, Peralta SS, Dirks RF, Santiago 2B, Inge 3B, (Scherzer P)

Okay, here’s the thing about the playoff rotation: in 2006, there was a small difference in the skills of each starter 1 through 5. A difference, but not a huge one. It’s only once the playoffs got under way that Kenny Rogers turned into Whitey Ford, and when the opportunity came to adjust the rotation, it wasn’t done. Not a big deal other than game 5 of the WS, where Rogers definitely should have started.
This year, however, there is a gigantic dropoff after Verlander and Fister, so if the opportunity arises to use them more than normal but on regular rest, I’d like to see JL do that, rather than stick with the rotation as set up before the playoffs begin.
I think it was the 2009 Yankees that, through scheduling quirks, got through the postseason with basically three starters?

“scheduling quirks” …. yea something like that

I’d have VMart at 1st (he may end up there a little if we are fortunate enough to get to the World Series). Maybe Betemit could have DH’d?
What I’d like to see is at least a smidgeon of creativity and proactivity with Leyland. If AJ is floundering you drop him in the lineup. There is no point having him up there if he can’t get on. That’s kinda the whole idea isn’t it? When he is hitting then elevate him back to #1. It’s not rocket science but it does show the ability to think out of the box and not be programmed into doing things until they work.
Speaking of VMart at 1st. That would mean Cabby might have to to take a couple of shifts at 3rd!!!!!!
How else you gonna get Martinez in in a NL ballpark?
Cabby ain’t no Inge but he probably a Betemit over there.

Please, no Cabby at 3rd base. The sheer thought…………….

Yes Evan, JL is a wonderful man. I love him dearly.
He’s done a good job with the team this last month.
However————-he does have some issues that could use improving.

Was hoping for a big series from TB b ut they got beat in the 8th inning today by the Yanks.
Looking more and more like the Tigers will need to get on a roll like they did a couple of weeks ago or we’ll end up in NY.

Sorry Pup, just sayin”. VMart can’t catch so that means 1st is the only other spot for him in NL parks.
Leyland cannot afford to sit him out. We don’t have enough hitting for that.

1968 World Series……Mickey Lolich 3 starts, 3 wins, MVP. How’s that for creativity over formula? OK, with a little desperation thrown in too.
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I asked myself the same question Dan. How is JL gonna get Victor into the lineup if they make it to the WS? They should be working on that now and not wait til the last minute.
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To me tonight’s game is very important. Last night was the definition of a throw away game if ever there was one. Didn’t care for the smiles coming from Mendosa, though I suppose if it were me it would be hard suppressing my joy in how easy things were going. What with getting 10 runs of support and Tiger hitters swinging at so many first pitches. Tonight the Tigers have to leave this team with the understanding of why they are the Central champs. Yes the Royals are a very good hitting team and yes they are playing well, having fun with nothing to lose, and are at home. So it’s that much more important for the Tigers to bring out their A game tonight. Let some air out of this KC team’s bubble and give them something to think about for next year. It’s not a meaningless game.

Rick Porcello: era:4.79.Whip:1.41.baa:293 hr:24
Bad Penny:5.31 . whip: 1.57 .baa:307. hr:18.
The numbes say Porcello but JL´s track : Penny.
Sorry to disagree. 1968. 162 games. WS without playoff. Dennis MacClain: 1 -2. Even wiith a too high mound.
No player have won more that two games in a WS as a starter since them. 1988 , the Dodger´s pitcher won two as a starter and another as a reliever.In postseason, Jack Morris is one of the few that have won three without a lost game. 1984
Victor would be the catcher or Cabrera will play 3b.He has the range and the arm. If someone is benched must be Avila

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