So did Rick Porcello officially become a member of the Detroit Tigers' pitching staff tonight?
He's been in the starting rotation all season, of course. But the rookie has generally benefited from sturdy run support. And when the Tigers haven't scored that many runs for him, Porcello gave up enough runs where it might not have mattered, anyway.
But tonight, Kid Rick (thanks to DetroitChik for that nickname) joined his fellow starters in the romper room of pain reserved for those who pitch great, but have no win to show for it because the lineup scored too few runs. Oh, it is four walls of emotion.
Porcello pitched the best game of his young career, holding the Indians to one run on four hits. Even more impressive, he gave the Tigers eight innings when the bullpen needed a break after using seven relievers in Friday night's loss. 67 of his 91 pitches were thrown for strikes, and he allowed only one walk.
Alas... the kid became the latest victim of the offense's failure to cash in on scoring opportunities, as the Tigers could only give him two runs. Yet that was almost enough for Porcello as he took a 2-1 lead into the ninth. Jim Leyland gave him the hook, however, and handed the game to his closer. Unfortunately, Fernando Rodney picked a fine time to blow his first save of the season. He only gave up one run, however, so the game went to extra innings for the second straight night.
(Leyland called the decision "a no-brainer" after the game, while acknowledging that the fans probably thought he should've kept Porcello in.)
From there, the Indians and Tigers each squandered scoring opportunities for two innings. But Detroit finally broke through in the 12th, after Jose Veras walked the first two hitters and Ryan Raburn drove one in. (When Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Guillen both made outs before him, it looked like the Tigers were going to waste yet another chance.) Veras gave up another run (which turned out to be the game-winner) after that by committing a balk, which brought in Clete Thomas.
The Tigers go for the series win tomorrow against Carl Pavano, who's somehow looked great in two games against Detroit this season.
12 men left on base, Detroit Tigers. That's 26 in the first two games of this series.
And is it time to consider sitting Curtis Granderson down against lefties again? Grandy was 0-for-5 tonight (though one of those at-bats was against the right-handed Justin Masterson), including a strikeout in which he looked completely overmatched against Tony Sipp.
That leaves him with a .183/.267/.267 batting line against left-handed pitching.
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