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Lunchtime Prowl: Porcello's Slider, The Tao of Knapp, Washburn's Fastball, and a Rendering of a Seay-Lyon

So what's been the biggest difference in Rick Porcello over his past two starts? According to Lynn Henning, it's ditching the curveball that had flattened out and bringing back the slider he stopped throwing last year. (That curve is nasty when it's working, though. I'm sure we haven't seen the last of it.)

Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp got some prime spotlight in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, as Matthew Futterman profiled what may have been the Tigers' sexiest offseason acquistion. Not only is it nice to see Knapp finally get a break after a long career in the minors, but he's obviously done great work with the Tigers' pitching staff this season, some of which is detailed in this article.

(Thanks to KJ@theonlycolors for posting this yesterday)

Jeremy Bonderman's second rehab appearance for Triple-A Toledo didn't go so well. Last night, Bondo gave up three runs and three hits (one of them a home run) in just one inning of work. However, he did throw 19 of 21 pitches for strikes, and hit 92 m.p.h. on the radar gun.

(Tom Gage, meanwhile, has more on Bondo's attempts to incorporate a split-finger fastball into his pitching repertoire.)

Does Jarrod Washburn have the best fastball in baseball right now? No way, you say. Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan explains how Washburn's 88 m.p.h. toss is actually the most effective. (And why Joel Zumaya's 100 m.p.h. heater isn't.)

If you ever wondered what a "Seay-Lyon" might actually look like, Samara has created an artist's rendering over at Roar of the Tigers. Be warned; it's horrifying. Seriously, it looks like something out of the movie Slither. Or a rejected mutant from one of the X-Men movies.

Fire Jim Leyland wonders if it's finally time for the Tigers to consider moving Placido Polanco down in the lineup. I'd like to see Clete Thomas get a chance in that spot, if that actually happened. But Mike runs through several different lineup possibilities.

We're a couple of days late with this, but Take 75 North looks at the Tigers' recent roster moves from the minor league perspective. Matt's takes on the Alex Avila and Chris Lambert call-ups are particularly interesting.

Speaking of the minors, Henning lists three hitters who might be able to help the Tigers' lineup over the final two months of the season. (One of them seems ideally suited to fill in for Curtis Granderson, if the team has decided not to play him against lefties.)

The Tigersosphere has a new site worth checking out. Most of you know john.kmiecik as a fellow BYB commenter. He's started up a Tigers blog of his own, called 2100 Woodward, and his first post looks at the Alex Avila-Cameron Maybin comparison.

I appeared on the Sports Show Live podcast last night to talk about the Tigers' starting rotation, Magglio Ordonez, and Jim Leyland's in-game smoking habits. Click on over and give Joe's new show a listen.

Also late on this one:'s Jon Paul Morosi thinks the Tigers and White Sox might have the starting rotations to upset the Yankees and Red Sox, who didn't pick up any starting pitching at the deadline, in the playoffs.

(Incidentally, are you glad the Tigers didn't sign John Smoltz in the offseason? He was brutal last night vs. the Yankees. That might have been the best move Detroit didn't make. Well, that and not trading for J.J. Putz.)

Joe Dexter talks to former Tigers pitcher Mike Maroth on the This Week in Detroit Tigers Baseball podcast. (Good timing, with the Tigers just calling up the player who was traded for him back in 2007, Chris Lambert.)

19 first-round picks still haven't agreed to contract terms with their teams - including Jacob Turner, whom the Tigers selected with the ninth pick in June - and we're 10 days away from the signing deadline. Turner is reportedly seeking "Rick Porcello money," says Baseball America's Jim Callis. That's $7.285 million over four years, by the way.

(via The Cutoff Man)

One more interesting note from Morosi: The Tigers might not have a player reach 100 RBIs this season. (Miguel Cabrera currently has 62, Brandon Inge has 61.) How many postseason teams had no 100-RBI mean last year? Zero.