Originally written on Tigers Weblog  |  Last updated 7/21/12
Mlb-white-sox-orioles-aug

50-44, 2nd place, .5 games behind CWS.

Wow, what a game last night. Other than a very poorly located 2-0 fastball, Verlander pitched a gem. The most incredible pitch of the night came in the 8th when a 100 mph 0-1 fastball literally sawed Gordon Beckham’s bat in half, on a check swing no less. Last night’s game was just what we expected, and needed, from JV. Valverde had a 1, 2, 3 ninth, but he came perilously close to walking Adam Dunn, and then needed a tremendous diving catch by Berry to get the third out (check out the emotion after the catch; I love it).  Also, all four of the Tigers’ runs came with 2 out, and the Tigers were 6-13 with RISP.

Ricky P takes the ball at 4:05 Eastern with a chance to pitch the Tigers into first place. Most of us would rank Porcello’s season this year as disappointing, perhaps even very disappointing, but I think a closer look at the numbers reveals that he’s actually progressing, and maybe even rapidly so.

First of all, let’s look at his peripherals. His walks per 9 are slightly up, but so are his Ks per 9. His 2.20 K/BB ratio is the best of his career. Also, his HR/9 has come down every year since 2009. His current 4.66 ERA is better than 2010 and 2011, and while his 2009 ERA was 3.96, that was due to a ridiculously low BABIP, as his 4.77 2009 FIP (see below) demonstrates. In most measurable categories, he’s improving.

So now let’s look as his sabermetric numbers. Porcello leads (not in a good way) the majors with a .358 BABIP against (Scherzer is .346 against, 2nd worst in the majors). I think that some of this can be blamed on poor fielding (we’ve discussed how few balls the Tigers infield gets to but know that JVs .238 BABIP is the 2nd best in the majors; Weaver’s is .233; imagine what JV could do with a better fielding infield). But in any event, a lot of BABIP can be attributed to the whimsical nature of chance. 52% of the batted balls against him are ground balls, which is a fantastic number, even for a sinker baller. His FIP (which is ERA without fielding factors) is a respectable 3.81 (which is above his career FIP average), and his SIERA (an even fancier play on ERA) is a career best 4.13. So can the BABIP explain it all? Or is it something else?

Taking a look at his batted ball stats shows that his line drive rate is up to 23.7%, which is almost 30% higher than his career average coming into the season. Batters are squaring up on him like crazy. And to be honest, I can’t figure out why. His velocity is up this year over his career numbers, and his pitch selection is in line with his usual numbers. So unless he’s tipping his pitches, the BABIP is going to regress way down, and Porcello will have an above average, maybe even a fantastic, 2nd half.

*****************************

Opposing Porcello this afternoon is AL ERA leader Chris Sale. The lefty (RABURN ALERT) is 11-2 with a 2.11 ERA. Over his past 10 starts his ERA is 1.61 and his WHIP is .89. We’re going to need Porcello’s A game and some clutch hits from our righty BOOBs to wake up in 1st place tomorrow. The Tigers did “rough up” sale for 3 runs and 5 hits over 5 innings back on April 15th in his 2nd start of the year.

We’ll do a trade rumor update manana.

Lineups coming later today.

 

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Beckham makes great grab over Revis

SEC commissioner wrote classy note to injured Arkansas RB

John Daly taken to hospital after collapsing on course

Rex Ryan keeping Bills' starting quarterback a secret

Braves fan dies after falling from upper deck

Randall Cobb suffers shoulder injury vs. Eagles

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: John Harbaugh, Jay Gruden get into shouting match

WATCH: Brian Hartline drags toes on great TD catch

Julio Jones, Falcons agree on 5-year contract extension

WATCH: Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion blasts three homers, extends hit streak

WATCH: Usain Bolt does LeBron stomp dance after relay win

WATCH: Vick's first pass as a Steeler is a 63-yard bomb

WATCH: Ricardo Mayorga taunts Shane Mosley in ring, loses

Will Jimmer Fredette find success with Spurs?

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

American Pharoah upset at Travers Stakes

Steve Smith joins family in stands after getting ejected from game

WATCH: Cordarrelle Patterson rips off 107-yard return TD

Steve Sarkisian giving up most of USC's playcalling duties

Animal shelter cancels fundraiser at Heinz Field

Mets acquire RP Addison Reed from Diamondbacks

WATCH: James Rodriguez scores unreal goals

Vin Scully: I believe next year will be my last

Charles Barkley wants to blow his former agent’s brains out

The Texas Rangers are firing on all cylinders

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

Fantasy football round-by-round draft strategy

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

The Opening Drive: What happened to all the great Michigan tailbacks?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Five greatest NBA players of all-time

Finding signs of life for the Red Sox

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker