Yesterday against the Twins, Rick Porcello looked like a pitcher who might need a break. The rookie was roughed up for six runs (four earned, thanks to Adam Everett's error) and seven hits in four innings. And in that decisive six-run fourth inning, he looked rattled for the first time all season.
The Detroit Tigers apparently agree. Jason Beck reports on his blog that the team will skip Porcello's next turn in the rotation - helped by Thursday's off-day - and give him a rest until after the All-Star break.
Porcello is winless in his last three starts, giving up 11 runs in his 13.1 innings. The 20-year-old's workload has been an ongoing concern throughout the season, and the Tigers have been watching his innings and pitch counts closely. Now at 87 innings, the team is taking a chance to sit him down for a bit.
Jim Leyland emphasized to the media that this wasn't a reflection on Porcello's recent performance:
"We always said all along we were going to pick our spots to protect him," manager Jim Leyland said. "It has nothing to do with yesterday's performance, I can tell you that. ... To be honest with you, I'm sure he doesn't like it, but it's what we're going to do to protect him."
Beck adds in his blog post that with two additional off-days in the week following the All-Star break, the Tigers could keep Porcello out of the rotation until July 24 if they so chose.