Toronto Blue Jays (2-5) at Detroit Tigers (4-3)
Time/Place: 1:08 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation blog: Bluebird Banter
Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Buehrle wasn't very good in his first start of the season, allowing six runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Cleveland Indians last Thursday. Two of those runs came off of home runs by Carlos Santana (link) and Mark Reynolds (link). His fastball location on both pitches tells you how good his command was over the course of the evening (hint: it was bad). When your fastball only averages 85 miles per hour, you're not going to get away with pitches over the heart of the plate. Buehrle also mixes in a changeup and cut fastball, which have historically been his two best pitches, as well as an occasional curveball.
As you might imagine, the soft-tossing lefty has some pretty good career numbers against the Tigers. In 34 career starts against Detroit, Buehrle is 18-10 with a 3.36 ERA. However, he was just 2-2 with a 6.86 ERA in four starts in 2011 when he was with the Chicago White Sox. Last season, Buehrle was 13-13 with the Miami Marlins, posting a 3.74 ERA in 31 starts. It was his 12th consecutive season with at least 200 innings pitched.
Porcello was also victimized by the home run ball in his last start, giving up dingers to Josh Willingham and Trevor Plouffe in Minnesota. He was lifted in the sixth inning after allowing two baserunners, but Octavio Dotel stopped the threat. Like Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez -- and every Tigers pitcher, really -- Porcello's command seemed off in Minnesota. Of the 19 curveballs he threw on Thursday, only six were for strikes. Expect him to improve in that regard today.
Both pitchers will be looking to improve on their first starts and will welcome the fact that this game isn't being played in a homer-friendly vacuum of a dome (Buehrle) or above the Arctic Circle (Porcello). I think today's game will be a low-scoring affair, but the edge goes to whichever starter can get deeper into the game. Buehrle gets the nod due to the fact that his righty-lefty splits are less severe than Porcello's.
This preview becomes obsolete in four hours when the game gets postponed.