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Tag:Rick Porcello
Posted on: February 23, 2012 8:58 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 4:44 pm
 

Spring primer: Detroit Tigers



By Matt Snyder


The 2011 Detroit Tigers won the AL Central in a laugher, ending with a 15-game edge over the second-place Indians. The offseason was rather uneventful in Detroit for a while, but then the Tigers lost DH Victor Martinez to a torn ACL. And then they swooped in and landed slugger Prince Fielder with a 9-year, $214 deal. They'll enter 2012 as the heaviest divisional favorite in baseball and some will surely pick them to win it all.

Danny Knobler's Camp Report: Verlander's workload, expectations won't change | Likes, Dislikes

Major additions: 1B Prince Fielder, RHP Octavio Dotel, C Gerald Laird
Major departures: RF Magglio Ordonez, 3B Wilson Betemit, IF Carlos Guillen, SP Brad Penny

Probable lineup
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Brennan Boesch, RF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Delmon Young, DH
6. Alex Avila, C
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
8. Andy Dirks, LF
9. Ryan Raburn, 2B

Probable rotation
1. Justin Verlander
2. Doug Fister
3. Max Scherzer
4. Rick Porcello
5. Jacob Turner

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Jose Valverde
Set-up: Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel

Important bench players
C Gerald Laird, IF Brandon Inge, IF Ramon Santiago, IF/OF Don Kelly

Prospect to watch
It would have been Turner here regardless, but there's extra emphasis on him now that the Tigers were unable to sign Roy Oswalt or trade for someone like Gio Gonzalez or Matt Garza. Thus, the path is clear for Turner to join the rotation out of spring at age 20, much like Porcello did before him. Entering 2011, Turner had never even pitched above High-A ball. But last season he appeared in Double-A, Triple-A and the majors. In 20 minor-league appearances, Turner was 4-5 with a 3.44 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 110 strikeouts in 131 innings. He struggled mightily in his three major-league starts, but it's a new year.

Fantasy sleeper: Delmon Young
"Owners should look for improved power numbers from Young this year, and with him hitting behind Cabrera and Fielder, his RBI total should get a jolt as well." - Al Melchior [Full Tigers team fantasy preview]

Fantasy bust: Doug Fister
"Part of Fister's 2011 success was based upon holding batters to a .188 batting average on ground balls. The Tigers' infield defense overall should leave something to be desired, so Fister's WHIP will rise upward, even without a significant increase in walks. Owners may look to Fister as a No. 4 starter in mixed leagues, but in reality he may perform more like a low-end No. 5 SP or waiver wire option." - Al Melchior [Full Tigers team fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
Very simple: The Tigers win the World Series for the first time since 1984.

Pessimistic outlook
The infield defense is dreadful, which stunts the development of Porcello and Turner in addition to hampering Fister and Scherzer. With Jackson's strikeouts piling up, Boesch never really becoming what the Tigers desired and players like Avila and Peralta taking steps backward, the offense is basically a two-man show. With these issues, at least one AL Central team (Indians? Royals?) vaults past Detroit in a shocker.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 10:38 am
Edited on: December 15, 2011 7:15 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Detroit Tigers



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

For today's installment of the Homegrown series, I can't stop thinking about a certain trade. Earlier this week, I was reminded of the deal anyway. In a pretty minor move, the Rays traded for relief pitcher Burke Badenhop. That's worth discussing here because he was the last standing of six players Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski sent to the Marlins for Miguel Cabrera (and Dontrelle Willis, for that matter). To acquire one of the biggest superstars in baseball -- and a now-washed up pitcher -- Dombrowski dealt Badenhop, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Eulogio De La Cruz, Dallas Trahern and Mike Rabelo. Upon Badenhop being dealt, the Marlins now have nothing left to show for the 28-year-old Cabrera. Trahern is stuck in Double-A and appears unlikely to help the big-league club, either.

So, yeah, this homegrown club is missing a huge bat in the middle of the order. But this is also an opportunity to praise Dombrowski for one hell of a trade.

Lineup

1. Omar Infante, SS
2. Matt Joyce, RF
3. Curtis Granderson, CF
4. Brennan Boesch, 1B
5. Alex Avila, C
6. Cody Ross, DH
7. Jack Hannahan, 3B
8. Cameron Maybin, LF
9. Ramon Santiago, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Justin Verlander
2. Jair Jurrjens
3. Rick Porcello
4. Guillermo Moscoso
5. Charlie Furbush

Bullpen

Closer - Francisco Cordero
Set up - Fernando Rodney, Joel Zumaya, Jason Frasor, Burke Badenhop, Ryan Perry
Long - Andrew Miller

Notable Bench Players

Will Rhymes, Ryan Raburn, Scott Sizemore, Danny Worth, Brandon Inge, Andy Dirks, Don Kelly, Casper Wells, Andres Torres

What's Good?

That guy sitting atop the starting rotation is pretty decent, no? Getting 34 or so starts out of Justin Verlander gives this ballclub a great chance to win plenty of low-scoring games. Jurrjens is a fine number two as well. I love Avila behind the plate and Maybin in left field would be a defensive force -- most metrics showed Maybin as a far superior defender in center to Granderson this past season, but I went with the logic that Granderson would stay in center as the star of the team. If he wanted to pull a Cal Ripken and move, OK, the defense gets even better. Finally, the bench depth is pretty good, as there are several guys capable of providing good spot starts.

What's Not?

While it's definitely not awful, that batting order leaves a lot to be desired. Joyce is really good and Granderson is great. Otherwise? I'll channel my inner Larry David and just say "eh." There would be an awful lot of pressure on Boesch and Avila in those run producing spots, that's for sure. Also, while it's not horrible, that bullpen bridge to Cordero isn't exactly one that eases the mind. Can you imagine how many cigarettes Jim Leyland would have to choke down to stomach a night with Badenhop, Frasor and Rodney tasked with putting up zeroes? They can do it, but they'll just about give you a heart attack in the process.

Comparison to real 2011

I'll go out on a limb here (please note sarcasm) and say winning 95 games and cruising to the AL Central title is about as realistic with this group as this exercise. A winning record might be possible, as this team feels just mediocre. The likes of Verlander, Granderson, Avila, Joyce and Jurrjens keep them away from "suck" territory. I'd go high-70s in wins with a ceiling of 83 victories.

Next: Houston Astros

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Posted on: October 15, 2011 11:41 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2011 2:06 am
 

Anatomy of a loss: How Detroit fell in ALCS

Cabrera, Napoli

AnatomyBy Evan Brunell


ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Tigers had a massive implosion by Max Scherzer ruin Game 6, and as a result, their season is over as the Rangers advance to the World Series.

Let's take a look at the anatomy of the Tigers' series loss...

1. HEAD: Throughout the series, Detroit talked about taking it one game at a time, battling back from adversity, doing what it could to win each and every contest and not worrying about the past. All that is great, but actions speak louder than words, and the Tigers were horribly demoralized after Game 4's shocking extra-inning loss. In fact, after every loss, malaise filled the Tigers' clubhouse, and how could it not? The team gave its all and every game save the last was close. Every Tiger loss outside of Game 6 came either by a single run, or in extra innings. It was the narrowest of margins ... but they were losses all the same. That wears on you, and even winning Game 5 couldn't wash away all the stink once the series shifted back to Texas.

2. ARM: The Tigers couldn't ride their starting pitching to the promised land, despite entering the series with arguably three aces. Of course, there's Verlander fronting the rotation, but he didn't pitch like an ace in the ALCS. His start in Game 1 was cut short by rain, but by his own admission, his mechanics weren't quite right to start the game, and he ended up giving up three runs in four innings. People like to follow the narrative of Verlander as a great pitcher, but he still coughed up four runs total in 7 1/3 innings in Game 5. As for the other starting pitchers, Max Scherzer was fantastic in Game 2, but gave up a run in the seventh to allow the Rangers to tie, and eventually win, the game... and then, of course, he completely fell apart in Game 6. Doug Fister pitched brilliantly in Game 3, Detroit's first victory. In Game 4, Rick Porcello also turned in an incredible effort, but imploded at the wrong time. Even the bullpen was lacking aside from the heroics of Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde, and Valverde got burned in Game 4.

3. OBLIQUE: The Tigers had two instances of obliques hurting the team. First, Delmon Young was left off the ALCS roster entirely due to suffering an injured oblique in ALDS Game 5 against the Yankees. However, the Tigers lucked into Young improving to the point he was able to replace Magglio Ordonez on the roster when Ordonez needed to be removed due to a fractured ankle. Young played in Games 2, 4 and 5, but racked up a 0-for-9 streak, the most at-bats of any player in the series without a hit. He snapped that distinction with two pivotal homers in Game 5, but it proved to be too late for Detroit to win out in the series.

In addition, Victor Martinez hammered a crucial home run in Game 3 to pace the Tigers to victory, but pulled his oblique in the process. The next at-bat, he didn't even offer at one pitch or take swings in the on-deck circle, so you knew he was hurting. He looked stiff and sore in Game 4, so the Tigers lost two of their most important offensive pieces thanks to the oblique injury, which has ravaged baseball all season.


ALCS Coverage
4. LEGS: At this point, I feel guilty for bringing this up for what is probably the billionth time, but I'm still incredulous at the decisions that the Tigers made in Game 4 with regard to baserunning. There are two particular situations that got me. The first was in the bottom eighth after the Rangers tied the game. Miguel Cabrera is on third base with one out. Delmon Young lofts a fly ball to right field, inhabited by Nelson Cruz who is a fine fielder with a rifle for an arm. Cabrera was sent home and was out by a mile. After the game, Jim Leyland said that if the throw was off-line, Cabrera scores. That's a cop-out -- that throw would have had to be incredibly off-line to the point where anyone could have scored. Even a five-hopper would have been enough to tag Cabrera out. It was a dumb move. Period.

In the bottom of the 10th, Austin Jackson stood on first base with one out. Improbably, he opted to steal second base and was gunned down by Mike Napoli. Leyland said he supported the decision -- which Jackson made on his own -- but he better just be covering for his player because that was another bone-headed move. With the throw out, the Tigers removed a man on base and the chance for Miguel Cabrera to hit that inning. Instead, Miggy watched as Ryan Raburn made the third out, then the Rangers put up a four-spot in the top of the 11th.

5. FOOT: Losing Magglio Ordonez was a brutal blow for Detroit, when he re-fractured his surgically-repaired foot in Game 1. Already hobbled due to Young's injury, losing Ordonez severely depleted the Tigers' offense to the point where it was, frankly, a non-entity aside from Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez in the 3-4 spots. There's no telling what Ordonez could have done after hitting .365 after Aug. 12 in the regular season and .455 in the ALDS.

Related video: Tigers manager Jim Leyland speaks on the crushing Game 6 loss:



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Base photo: Wikipedia

Posted on: October 15, 2011 9:37 pm
 

Holland rattled to start, but Scherzer implodes

Holland

By Evan Brunell


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Derek Holland didn't get the game off to a very good start for the Rangers, with an amped-up crowd being stunned into silence when Miguel Cabrera went opposite-field in the first inning to put Detroit up 1-0 on a solo blast.

That hit was Cabrera's 13th straight in a LCS game in what is also his 13th career LCS game, so he's tied Greg Luzinski for the record to start an LCS career. Holland seemed cautious in the beginning to challenge hitters, leaving a fastball away right there for Cabrera to muscle up. In the second inning, Johnny Peralta also took an away fastball from Holland and deposited it in the left-field seats to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead and seemingly take the crowd out of the game before it even really started.

Lucky for Texas that Max Scherzer completely imploded, then. Scherzer was inconsistent to start the game but was pitching out of trouble... until the third inning. The righty induced Ian Kinsler into a grounder to start the inning, also the last out he would record in the game. The rest of his outing went as such: Four-pitch walk to Elvis Andrus (!?), single, double, single, walk, walk. Scherzer then departed the game with the bases loaded and three runs in, giving lefty Daniel Schlereth the honor of his first LCS appearance coming with the bases juiced. He couldn't come through, coughing up a two-run single to David Murphy and making the score 5-2, all runs debited to Scherzer.

Manager Jim Leyland quickly moved on from Schlereth, moving on to Rick Porcello to stem the bleeding. But Porcello couldn't, and Scherzer's outing concluded having given up six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, walking four and striking out just one, allowing five hits. All in all, horrible. Horrible, horrible. And the Rangers just wouldn't stop, racking up a 9-2 score by inning's end.

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Posted on: October 12, 2011 11:37 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2011 1:39 am
 

Porcello dazzles until sixth-inning implosion

Porcello

By Evan Brunell


DETROIT -- Up until things unraveled in the sixth inning, the story of Game 4 of the ALCS belonged to Rick Porcello.

Porcello had been the overlooked pitcher this series, with many openly wondering why manager Jim Leyland didn't choose to push Justin Verlander up a day to start Game 4 once his Game 1 start was cut short by rain delay. It was a fair question, but Porcello showed the world what he could do, becoming just the fifth pitcher to allow two earned runs or less at age 22, the last coming way back in 1995 when Bob Wolcott of the Indians stymied the Mariners.

"I thought he pitched a tremendous game for us," Leyland raved after the game.. "This is an excellent lineup. To do what he did to hold them down like he did, I thought he did a tremendous job. I think he threw the ball exceptionally well. I don't think there's any question about that. He gave us what we wanted and probably a little bit more, to be honest with you."


ALCS Coverage
Porcello's game isn't striking out batters -- it's limiting walks and inducing groundballs, but on Wednesday night he seemed to have everything working to the point where he was a strikeout artist. Porcello notched his sixth strikeout in the fourth inning, one shy of his season-high and the first time since July he had struck out more than five. All this while allowing zero walks and forcing the Rangers to beat the ball in the ground for eight groundouts, seven of them after the fifth inning, and it was simply a superb performance for Porcello.

And yet, the Tigers lost the game after the 11th inning blew up in their faces. Porcello was subdued after the game, even as he was coming off one of the best performances of his career, including a filthy slider he said was probably the best he's ever thrown in his major-league career. "I felt good," Porcello admitted. "My slider was pretty sharp."

The only problem was that Porcello unraveled in the sixth inning, paced by David Murphy's 3-for-3 night and getting burned the third time through the order. Porcello's undoing the entire season has been getting through the lineup for the first time with ease, hitters batting just .229 against Porcello, then giving up hits at a .329 clip once the lineup flipped over. Porcello was able to hold Texas down through the second part of the lineup but the third turn wasn't the charm for the righty, as he gave up hits to five of the nine batters seeing him for the second time. Porcello compounded his own troubles by throwing wildly on an attempted pickoff of Elvis Andrus, allowing Andrus to move to second and score the go-ahead run on Michael Young's single, which snapped a slump for Young.

"Nothing changed," Porcello said about what happened the third time through when Texas put up a three-spot to take the lead in a game they would eventually win 7-3 in the 11th inning. "They hit some good pitches, they hit some bad pitches. That's the bottom line."

Unfortunately for Detroit, the bottom line has Texas one win from the World Series, while the Tigers will have to win three in a row.


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Posted on: October 11, 2011 11:56 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 4:50 pm
 

ALCS Game 4: Tigers look to even up series

Porcello, Harrison

By Evan Brunell

UPDATE: The start of Game 4 has been pushed back due to rain. Click here for more information.

DETROIT --  Rangers at Tigers, 4:19 p.m. ET, October 12, Comerica Park

The Tigers finally broke out at home, riding three solo home runs and (finally) an extra-base hit with runners ins coring position to victory, narrowing the ALCS series to 2-1. Given the victory, Detroit won't need to field questions on whether Justin Verlander should start in Game 4, leaving the eventual AL Cy Young Award winner to start Game 5. Texas still has the edge in the series, but suddenly this is a series worth watching.

WHO HAS THE EDGE?


While the Rangers obviously have the edge in the series so far, things could change on a dime Wednesday given the Tigers' success against Matt Harrison the last few years. Most notably, Ryan Raburn is an insane 8-for-12 off of Harrison with two homers. Brandon Inge, Miguel Cabrera and Austin Jackson also have succeeded against Harrison extensively, so if there was a game for Detroit to win, it's this one.

Texas isn't as familiar with Detroit's Rick Porcello, but Michael Young and David Murphy have all experienced success against the sinkerballer, while Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli all have just one hit against Porcello -- but all three have walked to the plate just seven times against Porcello, which isn't much to draw from as far as evaluating which players could give Porcello a hurting.

With the absence of Magglio Ordonez and possibly Delmon Young (who sat out Games 1 and 3 with injury), the Tigers' offense is pretty weak -- and don't forget about Victor Martinez coming up lame during his home run, possibly straining his oblique. Combine that with defense that is far from excellent (unlike Texas), and you have a convincing case for Texas to take a 3-1 series lead.
Tigers-Rangers

Rangers' Matt Harrison: It seems like such a long time ago, but Harrison is fresh off striking out nine Rays in Game 5 of the ALDS. While the amount of whiffs he sustained forced him out of the game after five innings, it was still an incredible performance for Harrison, and he'll look to send Texas to within one game of the Fall Classic in Game 4.

Harrison will be going on a full seven days' rest, which is a lot. He's thrown two side sessions and also tossed in the bullpen during Game 1 just in case he was needed thanks to the rain outs, so his arm should be fine. His performance against the Tigers might be a different story, as he gave up eight runs (one unearned) in two starts against Detroit this season, lasting just 12 innings. Add in three stints against the Tigers last season, coughing up eight runs in 10 1/3 innings, and one has to wonder just how effective the lefty can be.

"You just have to be aggressive against these guys," Harrison said, noting how Scott Feldman kept the ball down the zone and went after hitters, holding Detroit scoreless for 4 1/3 innings in relief of Derek Holland during Game 3. "Try to limit the mistakes, keep the ball in the corners."

Tigers' Rick Porcello: Leyland was adamant that Porcello would start Game 4, win or lose. Well, here we are, and Leyland's getting his wish.

Hey, Porcello has the ability to one day be fronting Detroit's rotation, but that time simply isn't now and it's hard to get optimistic about a righty who made 31 starts, tossed 181 innings and struck out 104 while walking 46. There's a reason Porcello was the No. 4 starter all season long and if Brad Penny had bothered to produce, he wouldn't even be starting in the postseason. The one benefit to Porcello is he induces grounders at a pretty good clip, but the defense has to be there behind him to make the plays. Given the Tigers' defense isn't exactly elite caliber, that doesn't work in his favor.

The 22-year-old will be making his second appearance of the ALCS after throwing 22 pitches in relief in Game 1, but he says he is fully prepared to go.

"I feel good. My arm feels fresh," Porcello said. I feel like the ball is coming out of my hand better now than it was earlier in the year. I'll be ready to go, and physically everything will be there."

Advanced pitching metrics do like Porcello, giving him a fielding-independent 4.02 ERA, so he could bust out with a start that clinches a return to Texas.

LINEUPS

Rangers Tigers
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Ian Kinsler 2B 1 Austin Jackson CF
2 Elvis Andrus SS 2 Ryan Raburn RF
3 Josh Hamilton CF 3  Miguel Cabrera 1B
4 Michael Young 1B 4 Victor Martinez DH
5 Adrian Beltre 3B 5 Delmon Young LF
6 Mike Napoli C 6 Alex Avila C
7 Nelson Cruz RF 7 Jhonny Peralta SS
8 David Murphy LF 8 Ramon Santiago 2B
9 Yorvit Torrealba DH 9 Brandon Inge 3B

Matt Harrison LHP
Rick Porcello RHP

NOTES

  • Since Comerica Park opened in 2000, Texas has the worst winning percentage at the park of any team, going just 23-35, including Tuesday's Game 2 loss. It's even worse since Washington took over as Texas' manager, as the club has combined to go 7-18.
  • Miguel Cabrera extended his ALCS hitting streak to 10, which is third-longest to start a career. The all-time record is 13 straight, set by Greg Luzinski from the 1976-1980 ALCS, playing for Philadelphia. Orlando Cabrera is the last player to collect at least one hit in 10 straight games, accomplishing the feat from 2004 with the Red Sox through 2005 with the Angels.
  • Flamethrower Joel Zumaya, the oft-injured Tigers reliever whose 2011 season ended before it began, was in town to take in the ALCS. Zumaya has been working out at Detroit's spring-training home all season and this is his first time back in Detroit since last season. He will be a free agent and hopes to stay with Detroit. "I started here and I wish I could end here," he said.

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Posted on: October 9, 2011 2:30 am
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Posted on: October 9, 2011 2:28 am
 

Short Verlander start throws Game 4 into question

Verlander

By Evan Brunell


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Two rain delays derailed Justin Verlander's start in Game 1, thereby limiting him to just 4 2/3 innings. After tossing just 82 pitches, the question naturally springs to mind: Will Verlander come back to start Game 4? Such a decision could have enormous ramifications on the series, as Verlander pitching in Game 4 would allow him to appear in Game 7, possibly as a starter and certainly as a reliever.

"We're going to go down and look at it," manager Jim Leyland said after the game. "We started to map a couple of things out during the one rain delay, but we don't have anything for you at this time.

"We're not trying to hide anything. We just haven't figured it all out."

Leyland fielded multiple questions on the topic, and started to get irritated on the third question.

"I'm trying to be patient. ... You can talk to me until you're blue in the face about the rotation. I don't have anything for you."

Leyland may not have anything, but the move to start Verlander should be obvious, especially after Porcello tossed 22 pitches in relief of Verlander. While the 22-year-old Porcello has a ton of promise and debuted at age 20 just two years after being picked in the first round, Verlander is clearly the better pitcher at this stage. He should be able to go on three days rest. How can the Tigers not make this move?

While Verlander may have been able to come out of the bullpen regardless in a potential Game 7 should he stay on track to start Game 5, giving Verlander the Game 4 assignment allows the team so much flexibility in Game 7. Maybe Verlander starts, maybe Max Scherzer (drawing the ball in Game 2) still starts and Verlander comes in relief for a few innings. And heck, Verlander drawing the ball in Game 4 would allow the club to go to a three-man rotation, eschewing Porcello and giving Scherzer the Game 5 or 6 start.

Either way, it's never a bad thing to have your best pitcher available in the final, winner-take-all, game.

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