Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 4/4/13

LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 21: (EDITOR'S NOTE: IMAGES HAVE BEEN DIGITALLY DESATURATED) Manager, Jim Leyland #10 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a portrait during Photo Day on February 21, 2009 at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
The Detroit Tigers' starting pitchers have yet to allow a run, though manager Jim Leyland would probably like to see his next one go a little deeper. A day after Detroit's maligned bullpen blew a lead, Rick Porcello hopes to avoid a similar fate and help the Tigers win Thursday's series finale against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Detroit starters Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez each threw five scoreless innings in the first two games of this series, giving up a combined five hits and striking out 12. Leyland wanted to limit their pitch counts to begin the season and each had surpassed 90 through five, causing him to turn to a relief corps widely considered to be the Tigers' biggest weakness. That certainly seemed to be the case Wednesday. With Detroit leading 2-0, Darin Downs allowed a run in the seventh. Joaquin Benoit worked a scoreless eighth but walked the leadoff hitter in the ninth, then Phil Coke gave up a single and a two-run double to Eduardo Escobar as the Twins won 3-2. "He just made a couple bad pitches at the end," Leyland said of Coke, who saved Monday's 4-2 win in Minnesota. "He got them up, out over the plate, which is the strength of those guys. That's where he got them, and they hit them." Before the season, the Tigers (1-1) didn't re-sign three-time All-Star closer Jose Valverde, who struggled in the playoffs, and supposed heir apparent Bruce Rondon was sent to Triple-A for more seasoning. That left the team with a closer by committee. Drew Smyly may be part of that group but allowed both runs in the opener. Porcello didn't give up many runs in March, winning all four of his spring starts last month while posting a 2.25 ERA - a major difference from his poor finish to 2012. He had a 1-6 record over his final nine outings, failing to get beyond the sixth inning in the last six, and didn't make the playoff rotation. "I think he's got some things figured out," Leyland told the team's official website. "... He looked very, very good this spring - really good." Porcello (10-12, 4.59 ERA) hasn't had much success in April, going 5-9 with a 6.13 ERA - his highest in any month. The right-hander, though, is 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in his last four starts at Target Field. Former Twin Torii Hunter is enjoying his latest return to Minnesota, getting four hits in this series. Reigning AL MVP and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, meanwhile, has driven in a combined three runs. Cabrera had a pair of two-out RBI singles Wednesday and is batting .377 with 27 RBIs in his last 17 games against the Twins (1-1). The Tigers have won 16 of 21 in Minnesota, but Mike Pelfrey will try to help the Twins keep reversing that trend in his return from Tommy John surgery. Elbow problems limited the right-hander to three starts for the New York Mets in 2012, and the Twins signed him to a one-year deal in December. "It's going to be a big moment for him. A lot of hard work goes into that. He had to really push it to the limit," manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twins' website. "But there's always fear involved when you do something like that to your arm. But you have to push through that fear." Pelfrey, a 15-game winner in 2010 for the Mets, lost his only start against Detroit on June 30, 2011, allowing five runs, eight hits and five walks over 4 2-3 innings.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Most strikeouts by a hitter in a single season
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Art Briles sues Baylor officials for libel, slander

Giants FB has home vandalized with swastika, Trump's name

Raiders G Kelechi Osemele out Thursday with illness

Red Sox send Brewers $100 as final piece of Tyler Thornburg deal

Troy Aikman almost came out of retirement to play for the Eagles

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Blues miss morning skate due to traffic in Brooklyn

Oregon president no fan of DC Brady Hoke

Carmelo blows off Jackson's ball hog remarks, looks 'annoyed'

Richard Sherman gives logical take on Cam Newton's benching

Sandoval's career fell 'into an abyss' after getting 'complacent'

Report: NFL believes Oakland ‘has no strong desire’ to keep the Raiders

Sporting life: Gifts for the fan who is always on point

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 3: News, notes and rumors

Four stinkiest games remaining on the 2016 NFL schedule

Ten young NBA players developing into stars

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 12/7: The date we got to know Bo

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 2: News, notes and rumors

Ten most intriguing non-NY6 bowl games

Breaking down the NFL playoff picture heading into Week 14

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

Sporting life: Gifts for the fan who is always on point

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 3: News, notes and rumors

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

The five best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

The five must-have sports games of 2016

The five 2016 Heisman finalists: How do they measure up?

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL Christmas sweaters)

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