Rick Porcello looked much better on Sunday for the Detroit Tigers after two rotten starts. Porcello needed an outing like this to assert himself as the No. 5 starter for the Tigers, who haven’t been getting much reliable pitching from their starters lately other than from Max Scherzer.
The Tigers lost 3-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays but since Porcello doesn’t bat, he can be excused for this loss. He allowed three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out three. That’s not Hall of Fame material, but it should earn him another MLB start. The Tigers don’t have anyone any better to take the No. 5 spot right now.
Porcello needs to go back to the four games from May 28 to June 14 that he pitched for the Tigers when he gave up a combined four earned runs over that span. He was at his best in those games. His pitches were working effectively and he was in command of the batter.
They need to go back and figure out what went wrong with his three starts prior to Sunday’s game with Tampa Bay in which he gave up 13 runs on 19 hits in only 10 innings of action. That should give Porcello more specifics on what he’s doing wrong and why he’s not getting runners out.
Porcello’s control continues to be excellent. In his last 10 starts he has only 12 walks in 60 innings of work, or one walk for every five innings. His pitches, however, need to be catching hitters more off-balanced on a more consistent basis.