Detroit Tigers (55-41) at Arizona Diamondbacks (43-57)
Time/Place: 9:40 p.m., Chase Field
SB Nation blog: AZ Snake Pit
Pitching Matchup: RHP Rick Porcello (12-5, 3.39 ERA) vs. RHP Chase Anderson (6-4, 3.64 ERA)
The Diamondbacks are blessed with one of the premier pitching prospects in all of baseball. Chase Anderson is not that guy, but he got the call over Archie Bradley -- who was injured at the time -- when the D-Backs needed an arm in early May. Anderson has responded by posting the best ERA in the team's rotation, allowing 22 earned runs in 10 starts. He hasn't been the most efficient pitcher, logging six innings or more in just four of his outings. However, he has avoided getting lit up by an opposing offense. He has only allowed five runs once, and has held the opposition to two earned runs or fewer in seven of his ten starts.
Anderson, 26, is far less heralded than the aforementioned Bradley, but the former Oklahoma Sooner posted some solid numbers in the minor leagues before getting blown up in Triple A in 2013. In 88 innings, Anderson allowed a 5.73 ERA and 4.54 FIP. His 2.42 strikeout-to-walk ratio during that stretch was also well below the figure he posted at lower levels. This season was a different story, however, as Anderson dominated in six starts in Double-A Mobile before getting called up to the majors.
Minor League Ball's John Sickels took an in-depth look at Anderson over the weekend, including a brief breakdown of his arsenal.
The scouting reports haven't changed: his heater runs between 87 and 94 MPH, averaging 90. He mixes in a curveball and changeup. This is classic fourth/fifth starter stuff, not blow-hitters-away ace material, although when his command is on he's gotten people out. His changeup can be very effective in particular.
For the second time in 2014, Rick Porcello out-dueled Royals ace James Shields in Kauffman Stadium. Porcello held the Royals to a single run on six hits in seven innings, but walked three batters for the third time in his last six starts. Amazingly, Porcello only ended up with three strikeouts despite inducing 11 whiffs in 96 pitches, a stellar 11.5 percent clip. He didn't seem to be at his best -- in particular, he wasn't the ground ball machine we saw during his scoreless streak -- but it was a solid bounce-back outing from Porcello before the All-Star break.
Hitter to fear: Cody Ross (.571/.571/.571 in 7 plate appearances)
Hitter to fail: Aaron Hill (.182/.182/.455 in 11 plate appearances)
This entire section is pretty much useless today, other than to remind you that Aaron Hill is a right-handed hitter despite being one of those guys who you are sure is left-handed until you look it up on Baseball Reference and/or see him ground out in the game the night before. Cody Ross is 4-for-7 in his career against Porcello.
Anderson has demonstrated some serious reverse platoon splits in his short big league career, but this is par for the course for the right-hander. Lefties hit .234/.304/.332 against him in the minor leagues, while righties put up a .731 OPS in 576 plate appearances. Don't expect the all-righty lineup that the Tigers trotted out last night, but navigating the regular batting order should be a decent challenge for Anderson. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks are hitting just .247/.303/.355 against ground ball pitchers in 2014. Between this split and Chase Field's hitter-friendly dimensions, Porcello and the Tigers have the clear edge on paper tonight.
Miguel Cabrera gets his homer tonight.
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