Results tagged ‘ Rick Porcello ’

Porcello falling in line for spot start

The Tigers have moved back Rick Porcello’s scheduled start for Triple-A
Toledo from Friday and Saturday, leading to speculation that Detroit
could be lining up their onetime prized prospect to pitch in front of
scouts at Toledo rather than on the road. Jon Paul Morosi of presented the idea, as well as team president/general
manager Dave Dombrowski’s unwillingness to list Porcello as
“untouchable,” and speculated if he could be a piece in a trade for a
starting pitcher such as Arizona’s Dan Haren.

It appears,
however, that the Tigers’ decision might have more to do with having Porcello
rejoin the Tigers next weekend rather than pitch for another team
anytime soon. The Tigers have a day-night doubleheader next Saturday at
Cleveland, and Dombrowski said earlier this week that one of those games
would be a spot start either for somebody from the Minor Leagues or a
current reliever. Moving him back a day would set him up to pitch
next Saturday night on six days’ rest.

The Mud Hens have their
All-Star break next Monday through Wednesday, so Porcello can’t be
slotted to start Saturday on normal rest. Starting Porcello on Sunday
night would make more sense that way, but if that game were to be rained
out or his outing rain-shortened, the Tigers would have to ponder other
options, or which there are few in Toledo.

Porcello has
struggled in his last two starts for the Mud Hens, allowing 10 runs on
17 hits over 13 innings combined. Those numbers don’t add up to a strong
resume to start in the big leagues again, but the Tigers don’t have a
lot of options. It would be a one-time start until Armando Galarraga
rejoins Detroit’s rotation July 20.

A Major League source said the Tigers are not shopping Porcello. As for any trade interest with the
Diamondbacks, Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew might appear to be a more
realistic target than Haren at the moment. Morosi reports that the Tigers and Diamondbacks aren’t in serious talks on Haren.

As for the rotation, neither Tigers management nor coaches are talking about who’s starting out of the All-Star break next weekend. Manager Jim Leyland said he knows who’s starting, but he doesn’t want to talk about it right now.

Perry, Porcello both struggle for Hens

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.”

Leyland: Porcello needs to pitch (in Toledo)

If anyone was expecting Rick Porcello’s eight innings of one-hit ball to earn him a quick return to Detroit, it isn’t happening. Manager Jim Leyland put an end to that speculation before it had a chance to begin.
“He needs to pitch,” Leyland said.
Leyland added that left-hander Andy Oliver will make his next turn in the rotation, which comes up Wednesday afternoon against the Twins in the finale of their three-game series at Target Field.
A double to left field was the lone hit the 21-year-old Porcello allowed in his first Triple-A start. He induced 15 ground-ball outs compared with just six fly balls. Organizational reports said he had a good amount of success with his slider, a huge development for him as a third pitch.
“It was a step in the right direction,” Knapp said of the slider.
The outing drew comparisons to the brief Toledo stint of Max Scherzer, who proved after two starts that he had made the adjustments he needed to be an effective Major League pitcher. Leyland isn’t going to bite on comparisons.
“Porcello needs to pitch,” Leyland reiterated. “I’m not going to talk about Porcello right now. Everybody’s all excited [after] one start. He needs to go down there and pitch and get himself straightened out. I’m not going to get all excited. He needs to go down there and get work in and pitch.
“And I love Rick Porcello, and I think he’s going to be back, and I think he’s going to be a great Major League pitcher. But he’s down in the Minor Leagues right now, and we’re handling issues up here.”

Porcello down, Sborz up

Back from some time off with some news on the back end of Rick Porcello’s move to Triple-A Toledo. Jay Sborz was reportedly told after the game that he’s heading up to the Tigers. Good work by the Toledo Blade site for tracking that down. Still don’t know Porcello’s replacement in the rotation, but at least we know his replacement on the roster for now.

At first glance, that would suggest that the Tigers are going to look to their bullpen to fill Porcello’s rotation spot for now, whether it’s Enrique Gonzalez (who started at Toledo this year), Brad Thomas (who started twice this season for Detroit) or Eddie Bonine (who started effectively for Detroit down the stretch last year). But Sborz could also be an extra arm in the bullpen for now if the Tigers want to call up somebody else to start later in the week, such as Andy Oliver. Tigers can wait until Saturday in Atlanta before they need a fifth starter.
It surely suggests Ryan Perry will not be ready to be activated from the disabled list when he’s eligible to come off Tuesday.
Sborz has quietly followed up the impression he made in spring training by putting up a very good season as Mud Hens closer, saving 15 games while striking out 28 batters over 26 2/3 innings and scattering 18 hits. His stats suggest he has been most effective as a one-inning guy for the Hens. Seven of his nine earned runs allowed came in four outings in which he was called upon for more than three outs.

Porcello to be skipped next turn thru rotation

Rick Porcello will get some extra time to try to work his way out of his sophomore slump. The Tigers will skip him in their next turn through the rotation to give him enough time for three side sessions.

The hope, obviously, is that those sessions will help him find the life again on his sinker for ground-ball outs and stronger outings than what he has suffered recently, taking him from Rookie of the Year consideration in 2009 to one of the higher ERAs in baseball in 2010.

“I think the No. 1 thing he needs to accomplish is to get the sinker back,” Leyland said Friday afternoon. “I think you have to go one step at a time. I think that’s the first step. We are going to try and accomplish that and try to slow him down a little bit. You always have ideas and thoughts and stuff. We just haven’t been able to slow him down. He’s kind of jumping at the hitters getting out there.”

Porcello had no drop on his sinker in his last start Wednesday, and the White Sox made him pay dearly for it. After Porcello gave up only one hit the first time through the White Sox batting order, he retired only one of the eight batters he faced he faced in what ended up being a seven-run fourth inning. He finished with eight earned runs on eight hits over 3 1/3 innings with one strikeout and two home runs.

The damage raised Porcello’s ERA from 5.25 to 6.09 on the season. He has allowed 89 hits over 65 innings, a humbling reminder that for all his success, he’s still a 21-year-old trying to compete.

“We need to iron this situation out,” Leyland said. “He’s throwing way too many balls from the belt up, where last year he threw form the belt down, with a much better sink. He’s getting more run on his ball than sink right now.”

With Monday a scheduled off-day for the Tigers, Leyland had the leeway to keep everyone else on four days’ rest and push Porcello back to next Saturday against Arizona. Max Scherzer will start Tuesday against Washington, followed by Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga and Justin Verlander.

Porcello gets his work in

Just finished watching a simulated game that featured Rick Porcello getting in his scheduled work. He did fine, went to his allotted pitch count. Others to pitch in the game included Macay McBride, trying to work his way back from elbow problems that limited him to one inning over the past two years. Also pitching was Austin Wood, the former University of Texas reliever best known for throwing 169 pitches in an NCAA Tournament game last spring before Detroit drafted him. He threw a solid inning.

Porcello to start home opener, Scherzer April 7

The pitching rotation still hasn’t been filled out, but at least we know when the guys who are set will start. Jim Leyland announced this morning that Rick Porcello will start the home opener when the Tigers host the Indians on Friday, April 9. Max Scherzer will start the second game of the season against the Royals on Wednesday, April 7, after Justin Verlander starts Opening Day on April 5.

That leaves two openings that will depend on who’s pitching. One would figure that if Jeremy Bonderman gets a spot, he would appear to be more likely to start the series finale at Kansas City April 8. Bonderman would logically fit into the series finale at Kansas City April 8, but he still has a three-game suspension looming over him from his pitch that hit Minnesota’s Delmon Young in the final week of last season. Bonderman immediately appealed the suspension, and I haven’t heard anything yet about a hearing. Unless it’s reduced, he can’t pitch at all during the KC series, which would put someone else in line to pitch that game.

You could say it’s the first major assignment for the 21-year-old Porcello, but starting the tiebreaker game against Minnesota last October was pretty big. Leyland said he wanted Scherzer’s first start as a Tiger to be on the road rather than in the added energy of a home atmosphere.

Porcello edged out in AL Rookie balloting

Rick Porcello finished third in AL Rookie of the Year balloting, just released. A’s closer Andrew Bailey earned 13 of the 28 first-place votes. Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus finished second.

Porcello received seven first-place votes, eight votes for second place and five votes for third. He was left off of eight writers ballots. But then, even Bailey was left off of four.

Porcello named Tigers Rookie of the Year

In case you missed it (sorry, but blog program wasn’t working earlier today), Rick Porcello won the Tigers Rookie of the Year award today. It wasn’t really a surprise, but it was another moment to appreciate what he did this year after he surprised a lot of people by making the rotation out of spring training in the first place.

As reported many times already, Porcello is just the fourth pitcher since 1970 to put up a 14-win season before his 21st birthday, the last being Doc Gooden. What stood out to me, though, was the way he adjusted his game after a midseason slump and thrived down the stretch for it. He went 5-2 with a 3.07 ERA over his final 13 starts, allowing just 66 hits over 73 1/3 innings. Just 18 of those hits went for extra bases. He lost only one of his final eight starts, and his 5 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts in the AL Central tiebreaker gave Detroit a shot at winning the division before falling in extra innings.

Want to know what else was impressive about that stretch? Look at his ground ball to fly ball ratio. He had one of highest ground-ball rates in the American League for the season, but he was close to even for the final two months. He went from throwing sinker after sinker to mixing in more four-seam fastballs down the stretch, partly at catcher Gerald Laird’s suggestion, and batters popped them up.

Did the Tigers manage him well? Sure, and they deserve credit for it, especially pitching coach Rick Knapp. But this kid worked well with Laird and made adjustments, and he showed an aptitude well ahead of his time. He probably won’t get the credit he deserves for that when AL Rookie of the Year voting comes out next week — too bad, because the Tigers would’ve lost the division before Game 163 without him — but it’s going to be fun to look at this season’s AL rookie crop in a few years and see where Porcello stands.

Bill James predicts 22 HRs for Raburn

Jason Beck /

So what happens every November, right around the time that the Bill James Handbook comes out, is that they send out an email to writers detailing what they project for the next season from certain players on their team. Generally, it’s a look at last season’s stats and a projection whether the player will build on those numbers or regress.

This year’s version is out, and the projections include a 22-homer season in 439 at-bats from Ryan Raburn, But as Bill James admitted in the email, they can’t predict or project playing time.

The projection on Raburn includes a .276 average, 73 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. What interested me, though, were projections for some of the hitters. Curtis Granderson, under their scenario, would bat .275 with 27 homers, 76 RBIs, 17 stolen bases and an .844 OPS — keeping a lot of his home-run power while still getting a bounceback on batting average. Magglio Ordonez is projected to bat .311 with 17 HRs and 84 RBIs.

On the pitching side, Rick Porcello would get a bit of a sophomore slump, going 10-11 with a 4.25 ERA in 195 innings.