Lost in the shuffle of the Jhonny Peralta talk was Rick Porcello, getting his first taste of bullpen life. It’s a taste he is going to have to get used to in the next few weeks as he begins his transition from starter to long reliever. The jump is one Porcello has made before including in last season’s playoffs, but it still is going to take a little time to get used to the uniqueness of changing his entire routine. No longer does Porcello know when he will be used; now Porcello could be used at any moment, needing to be sharp right out of the gate, sometimes coming in with runners on base.
Some will argue Porcello pitched well enough this season to be a starter in the postseason and that it should be Justin Verlander who should come out of the pen, but it’s a far easier move to let Porcello who has experience in the pen, be the super reliever. Porcello’s value to the team has not been demoted in the least, and has actually increased tremendously as we have seen starters turn long relievers be key in the road to a World Series Championship like Tim Lincecum was last season for the San Francisco Giants.
The Detroit Tigers have been lacking a guy who could effectively come in to eat up innings. It hasn’t really been noticeable because the times where the Tigers have a bad start from one of their starters has been few and far between, but at every point in a team’s postseason you are going to need help when a starter just doesn’t have it; that will be Porcello’s task now. Everyone hopes he will be successful in that task, because if not the Tigers could be in serious trouble in October.