Sometimes it is hard to believe that Rick Porcello has been a big leaguer since 2009 when he was just 20 years old. Now in his sixth season with the Detroit Tigers, Porcello has finally evolved into the type of pitcher many thought he would eventually become when the Tigers drafted him out of high school way back in 2007.
On Wednesday, Porcello astonishingly pitched his third complete game shutout of the season. The 25-year-old is now sporting a 14-8 record with a career-best 3.10 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. The 14 wins also tie a career high for Porcello, a number he reached during his rookie season of 2009 and once again during the 2011 campaign.
With Anibal Sanchez currently on the disabled list with a pectoral strain and Justin Verlander hoping to return this weekend but sporting numbers that are far from Verlander-esque, it may be safe to say that Porcello will essentially be the Tigers’ No. 3 starter behind David Price and Max Scherzer for the time being. Continued success for Porcello will be very important to the Tigers’ playoff push as well.
The Tigers have fallen on hard times in the month of August, currently finding themselves one game behind the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central. The Tigers are, however, now a game ahead of the Seattle Mariners for the second AL Wild Card spot. They are still far from guaranteed a ticket to the postseason, though.
If Porcello can stay on the phenomenal run he has been on this season, however, the Tigers should like their chances. The three-headed monster that Porcello forms along with Price and Scherzer will be tough for many teams to overcome. If Verlander can get back on track and Sanchez can return in September and pitch the way he is capable of, the Tigers will easily have one of the best rotations in MLB as originally hoped.