Nick Blackburn (11-11, 4.18) vs. Rick Porcello (14-9, 4.14), 12:05 p.m. EST
So as we were saying last night...
Is advance build-up for this one really necessary? You know what's at stake for the Detroit Tigers during these next four games. And if you don't, hey, thanks for joining us. Hop on, and we'll explain as it goes along.
Among the many reasons the Minnesota Twins have played so well in September is the performance of Nick Blackburn. In three of his four starts this month, he's allowed three runs or fewer. And in his past two starts, he's given up two runs in 13.1 innings. That includes seven innings of shutout baseball versus the White Sox last week.
On the road this season, Blackburn is 4-7 with a 4.07 ERA in 16 starts. He's split his two starts against the Tigers this season, but the last time he pitched at Comerica Park, Blackburn gave up nine runs (six earned) in less than four innings.
Technically, Rick Porcello is still a rookie. And the idea of the Tigers' youngest pitcher starting one of their biggest games of the season is a little bit scary. But after 29 major league starts, is Kid Rick really some fresh-faced upstart anymore? He's gotten better as the season has progressed, as his last start showed. Porcello held the Indians to one run in five innings of work.
Porcello is 1-2 with a 3.71 ERA against Minnesota in three starts this year. But he pitched well enough to win when he faced the Twins last weekend at the Metrodome. And Kid Rick's only scoreless effort of the season was against these Twins, back in early May when he opposed Blackburn in the aforementioned blowout.
Twinkie Town has your SB Nation opposing view for this four-game series.