In the past couple of seasons, Detroit Tigers‘ fifth starter Rick Porcello has faced the brunt of many harsh critics, including myself. The 24-year-old starting pitcher has a career ERA of 4.63 and had shown very few signs of improving over his short four-year career.
Porcello had started the 2013 season no different than most of his consistently-mediocre seasons. Owning an 11.08 ERA through three starts, giving up three home runs and accounting for just a measly three strikeouts. Let’s just say I was ready to call it quits on the right-hander very early.
It looked as if he would never improve from his solid rookie season in which he had a 3.96 ERA and 14 wins, contending heavily for the AL’s rookie of the year award.
Sure, he’s still young and has the pitches in his arsenal that could make for a solid fifth starter, maybe even a top of the rotation type of pitcher. However, he had yet to put all of it together into his starts.
Call it a wake-up call or whatever you would like, but his start against the Los Angeles Angels on April 20, 2013, changed everything for the young man. He pitched just 0.2 innings and gave up nine earned runs, pushing his record to 0-2 and his ERA, like I said earlier, to over 11.
Since that terrible start, the young righty has dropped his ERA from 11.08 to 5.92 in just four starts. His biggest criticism is that he couldn’t make it past five innings. In those four starts, he has pitched at least 5.2 innings each time, not allowing more than three earned runs in any start.
Oh, not to mention the fact that he has 24 strikeouts in the past four starts compared to just three in his first three.
In my opinion, Porcello looks like a different pitcher. He may just be earning his keep with Jim Leyland and the Detroit Tigers. I was once a huge critic of Porcello; he has redeemed himself a bit and if he keeps pitching the way he does, he will be a solid fifth starter for this team, maybe even a third or fourth starter.