Game 2012.95: White Sox at Tigers

50-44, 2nd place, .5 games behind CWS.

Wow, what a game last night. Other than a very poorly located 2-0 fastball, Verlander pitched a gem. The most incredible pitch of the night came in the 8th when a 100 mph 0-1 fastball literally sawed Gordon Beckham’s bat in half, on a check swing no less. Last night’s game was just what we expected, and needed, from JV. Valverde had a 1, 2, 3 ninth, but he came perilously close to walking Adam Dunn, and then needed a tremendous diving catch by Berry to get the third out (check out the emotion after the catch; I love it).  Also, all four of the Tigers’ runs came with 2 out, and the Tigers were 6-13 with RISP.

Ricky P takes the ball at 4:05 Eastern with a chance to pitch the Tigers into first place. Most of us would rank Porcello’s season this year as disappointing, perhaps even very disappointing, but I think a closer look at the numbers reveals that he’s actually progressing, and maybe even rapidly so.

First of all, let’s look at his peripherals. His walks per 9 are slightly up, but so are his Ks per 9. His 2.20 K/BB ratio is the best of his career. Also, his HR/9 has come down every year since 2009. His current 4.66 ERA is better than 2010 and 2011, and while his 2009 ERA was 3.96, that was due to a ridiculously low BABIP, as his 4.77 2009 FIP (see below) demonstrates. In most measurable categories, he’s improving.

So now let’s look as his sabermetric numbers. Porcello leads (not in a good way) the majors with a .358 BABIP against (Scherzer is .346 against, 2nd worst in the majors). I think that some of this can be blamed on poor fielding (we’ve discussed how few balls the Tigers infield gets to but know that JVs .238 BABIP is the 2nd best in the majors; Weaver’s is .233; imagine what JV could do with a better fielding infield). But in any event, a lot of BABIP can be attributed to the whimsical nature of chance. 52% of the batted balls against him are ground balls, which is a fantastic number, even for a sinker baller. His FIP (which is ERA without fielding factors) is a respectable 3.81 (which is above his career FIP average), and his SIERA (an even fancier play on ERA) is a career best 4.13. So can the BABIP explain it all? Or is it something else?

Taking a look at his batted ball stats shows that his line drive rate is up to 23.7%, which is almost 30% higher than his career average coming into the season. Batters are squaring up on him like crazy. And to be honest, I can’t figure out why. His velocity is up this year over his career numbers, and his pitch selection is in line with his usual numbers. So unless he’s tipping his pitches, the BABIP is going to regress way down, and Porcello will have an above average, maybe even a fantastic, 2nd half. (And I’d like to take back my prediction that he’s gonna get shelled today; candidly, I had not looked at all the numbers until now. Sorry Ricky P. You’re my boy.)


Opposing Porcello this afternoon is AL ERA leader Chris Sale. The lefty (RABURN ALERT) is 11-2 with a 2.11 ERA. Over his past 10 starts his ERA is 1.61 and his WHIP is .89. We’re going to need Porcello’s A game and some clutch hits from our righty BOOBs to wake up in 1st place tomorrow. The Tigers did “rough up” sale for 3 runs and 5 hits over 5 innings back on April 15th in his 2nd start of the year.


– The Tigers are 15-7, and are averaging 5.6 runs per game, since Toby Harrah was brought up to make Lloyd McLendon feel uncomfortable.

We’ll do a trade rumor update manana.

Today’s Ridiculous 2 Hole Lineup:

1. Jackson, CF
2. Raburn, LF
3. Cabrera, 3B
4. Fielder, 1B
5. Young, DH
6. Peralta, SS
7. Boesch, RF
8. Laird, C
9. Worth, 2B



  1. StorminNorman$

    July 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Another big win yesterday (all DET runs scored after 2 outs), especially in light of the pitching matchups today and tomorrow.

    Today: Rick Porcello, who has a 7.71 ERA in two July starts, faces left-hander Chris Sale, who made the All-Star squad and leads the AL in ERA at 2.11

    Sunday: Humber, who has been very hittable since his 4/21 perfect game – faces Turner, who is fresh off a very brief, but humbling outing against the Angels

  2. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    July 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Youkilis will go up against Porcello. We haven’t seen to many match ups between them since Little Rickey became a man a few years back in Boston.

  3. StorminNorman$

    July 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    not to beat a dead horse, but Raburn is batting .123 at Comerica this year, and .153 vs lefties… if JL insists on playing him, why bat him 2nd? to maximize his AB’s and further errode whatevers left of his ‘confidence’ against one of the best pitchers this year in the AL?

    • Vince in MN

      July 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      Until they make a trade for some kind of RH bat, the plan is to “get him going.” I know, it doesn’t make any sense, but when was that ever a reason for not doing something?

      • Coleman

        July 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm

        Hopefully he’ll be going soon.

        • StorminNorman$

          July 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm

          wouldn’t playing everyday at Toledo provide a better environment?

          • Coleman

            July 21, 2012 at 4:44 pm

            They can’t necessarily send him to Toledo. He was one option left, but since he has his 5 yrs he has the right to refuse assignment and become a free agent.

          • Vince in MN

            July 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm

            I think he is out of options, so perhaps they are afraid of losing him if he is DFA 🙂

  4. Coleman

    July 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    A K and a GIDP…the 2nd spot in the lineup is doing wonders for him.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      July 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      It is absolutely moronic. There’s no other way to describe it. The worst hitter in the AL batting 2nd. He’s already wasted 1 significant AB, not to mention that he’s wasting ABs for the two guys behind him.

  5. Coleman

    July 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I think Youkilis is inspiring Kid Rick.

  6. Vince in MN

    July 21, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    This two-out-come-from-behind stuff lately is pretty exciting.

  7. Vince in MN

    July 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm


  8. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    July 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Wow, Saturday afternoon in Comerica with a surging Tiger team battling in a pitcher duel with the White Sox! Dan and Jim on the radio; it must be mid-July and life is good! Naw, it’s great!

  9. Vince in MN

    July 21, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    These are the kind of pitching duels I like.

  10. Coleman

    July 21, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Boesch Basch!!

    • Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

      July 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      Sweet home Alabama!

  11. Vince in MN

    July 21, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    BOOBs are having a nice day.

  12. Vince in MN

    July 21, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    I think Rayburn’s double last AB was an accident.

  13. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    July 21, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    A few years ago Little Rickey Porcello became a man when he plunked Youkilis. Today he became a dependable pitcher in an important game. Great job Rick!

    • Vince in MN

      July 21, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      That’s exactly what we needed. Now Leyland can throw the whole bullpen out there tomorrow if needs be.

  14. scott

    July 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    1st PLACE BABY!!!! …….. THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT!!!!!

  15. jud

    July 22, 2012 at 12:24 am

    every once in awhile Rugburn slams out a meaningless hit, no RBI of course and you can just hear Capt Mumbles turn to McClendon and say FINALLY we have him going……12 frickin RBI for the entire season…1 stinkin HR……Jim didn”t your wife tell you to dump the guy when you went back home for All Star break….this is beyound common sense….I know Jim you don’t think any of us know anything about baseball, but Jim we are way past you on this one!!!!!!!!