PREGAME: Not that there isn’t any pressure on Rick Porcello today, but Edwin Jackson’s struggles and some extra innings have thinned out the bullpen a little. Fortunately Jim Leyland made sure that only Brandon Lyon would be unavailable today with everybody else working relatively short outings.
And things haven’t been easy for Porcello lately. Maybe he was rusty after a multi-week layoff in his first post All Star start. Maybe he was a little amped up on national TV in his second start. Or maybe he’s just struggling.
The Tigers bats will try to knock around Jeremy Sowers. Sowers shutout the Mariners for 7 innings his last time out, but that has been the extent of good news with Sowers this year. He hasn’t started against the Tigers this year but he held them to 1 run over 6 innings last September.
POSTGAME: I recently started a diet and these extra inning games are keeping me up to late and it’s making me hungry, but the postgame celery tastes much sweeter after a win.
Rick Porcello was outstanding and I’d call this his best outing of the season. He got some swings and misses, and he got lots and lots of swings and ground balls. He kept the ball down, he controlled the sink on his 2 seamer and his breaking ball was excellent. The fact he was able to eat 8 innings on only 91 pitches on a night when the bullpen was taxed was huge. And that brings us to the 9th inning.
I completely understand the sentiment to keep Porcello on the mound for the 9th. He was cruising and didn’t appear to be tiring and was still a hair under his pitch count limit. Porcello hasn’t gone over 100 pitches this year as Leyland tries to protect his arm for beyond this season. If he was going to let Porcello exceed that limit, today certainly would have been a worthy cause. But I fully support going to Rodney in that situation.
Porcello hasn’t been stretched out yet and Rodney has been very good in save situations. I’d rather have a fresh guy than someone who was pretty much at the limit his arm has been conditioned for. Rodney blew his first save and Porcello doesn’t get the win, but it doesn’t mean Porcello’s performance was wasted at all.
As for the offense, the good news is that they kept generating scoring chances and eventually they cashed in. And in watching the at-bats tonight, I thought many of them were decent approaches. They worked the count (after the first time through the order). They fouled off pitches. They drew walks. Inge hit a fly ball to the wall. Raburn and Polanco hit liners to second. Those were simply bad breaks.
The bullpenning was pretty good and Ryan Perry looks so much better after his stay in the minors. Throw in some Bobby Seay magic and Zach Miner not blowing it and it’s another much needed win.