Rick Porcello had a spectacular first outing the other day against the Toronto Blue Jays in Lakeland, Florida trying to take the last spot in the starting rotation for the Detroit Tigers. He went two innings not giving up any runs on two hits, leaving a great first impression on the coaching staff.
Today against the Philadelphia Phillies the other option for the last spot Drew Smyly showed why he’s in the conversation. He went two innings as well only giving up one hit and no runs against the star studded lineup that the Phillies have.
Last year Smyly had some great appearances for the Tigers, arguably the best ones being in the ALCS against the New York Yankees where he pitched two and one third innings only giving up one hit and no runs. If you forgot the Tigers went on to sweep the Yankees and move on to the World Series.
Only being 22-years-old this young kid has some great potential to be in the starting rotation for years to come. He works very fast on the mound and has a quiet confidence about him. He’s the kind of guy that gets the ball, turns around and throws. You really can’t help but like the guy, he has that kind of personality.
Porcello is young too and there is no disputing that he has the higher upside because he was thought to be the next big thing when the Tigers signed him. Although he has gotten worse every year he’s been in the majors the Tigers still have confidence that he can turn into a front of the rotation guy. The problem isn’t that they are both horrible, it’s actually the opposite. It’s the fact that Detroit can’t put them both in the rotation.
Realistically this last spot in the rotation won’t make that big of a difference. Neither one of them will be expected to win a ton of games, they are mostly there to eat up innings and win a couple here and there. I’ve been a Porcello hater for a while now but even I can admit that he wouldn’t be that bad of an option for a fifth starter.
The Tigers are in a great spot that most other ball clubs aren’t in, the position where they are worried about only their last starting spot and not their third and fourth. Either way this battle turns out I think they will do just fine.