Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 6/20/12
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DETROIT The Tigers made mental mistakes, physicalmistakes, struggled offensively, got another player hurt and lost 3-1 to St.Louis Wednesday night. In the long run, though, it will quite possibly turn out to have been a goodnight. Jim Leyland has talked all season about the need to get his "BigFour" starters on a roll at the same time. That hasn't happened, becauseof Doug Fister's stints on the disabled list and the inconsistent performances byMax Scherzer and Rick Porcello. In the last four games, though, it seems like things might be about to change. It started Saturday, when Fister came off the DL to throw six shutout inningsagainst Colorado. Scherzer was just as good on Sunday, holding the Rockies scoreless for eightinnings, and Justin Verlander was his usual self on Tuesday, allowing oneearned run in his seven innings. That left things up to Porcello, and he kept the run going. He couldn't match Cardinalsstarter Jake Westbrook, who tossed a complete-game five-hitter, but Porcello onlygave up two earned runs in his seven innings. With Porcellos outing, Detroit starters have a combined ERA of 0.96 in thelast four games. "This is just what the doctor ordered," Leyland said. "Rick is asinkerballer, so he's going to give up some hits, but he also got some doubleplays when he needed them, and I think, overall, he did very well. "It's important for us to get that consistency, and hopefully we arestarting to see that." Porcello also recognized that his performance was important in a broadercontext than just Wednesday night. "We definitely need to be more consistent in the rotation, so it was bigfor me to come out there tonight and pitch like I did to follow up Verlander,Max and Fister," Porcello said. "If we can keep this going, and theoffense scores the runs they are going to score, we'll win some games." The outing was especially pleasing for Porcello, because he hadn't pitchedseven innings since May 1. "I think I got out of rhythm in my last few starts, and I got back to whatI need to do tonight," he said. "With this offense, if I can go outand throw seven innings and give up two runs, we're going to win a lot ofgames." Unfortunately for the Tigers, Porcello's effort wasn't enough. Westbrook wasdominant, pitching against Detroit like he did several times in 2003 and 2004. "You saw two good sinkerball pitchers tonight, but Jake was just betterthan Rick," Leyland said. "Jake Westbrook pitched an outstanding gametoday, and you can't blame the hitters. You just have to tip your hat tohim." Of course, it wouldn't be a Tigers game without another Detroit injury. Thistime, it was Gerald Laird pulling up with cramping in his left hamstring. Lairdhas been bothered with right hamstring problems for the last few weeks, butisn't sure how the other one got involved. "That's why I'm so mad I'm getting so many hamstring problems," Lairdsaid. "I popped up from my slide, and it started to cramp up, and it justgot worse and worse and worse. "Hopefully, it was just a cramp from being dehydrated, but I can stillfeel a knot in there. I'm going to drink a lot of fluids and hope that it feelsbetter in the morning." Alex Avila will only have about 12 hours to get himself back into playingshape, because the Tigers can't afford to be short at the catching position.Avila will start on Thursday after finishing a three-game rehab assignment withTriple-A Toledo for his own hamstring injury, and rookie Bryan Holaday wasscheduled to return to the Mud Hens in his place. That move was delayed until Thursday morning, but Leyland said he can't affordto give Laird any extra time, especially with the Tigers heading to Pittsburghthis weekend. "You're not talking about an outfielder or an infielder, where you've gotanother outfielder or infielder," Leyland said. "You don't have anextra backup catcher. It's pretty simple. Either Laird will be OK tomorrow, andthen Holaday goes down, or Laird goes on the disabled list and Holaday stayshere. "We'll wait until the morning, because we don't want to make any rashdecisions, but I think we'll have an answer by tomorrow."
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