Rick Porcello will have a very good career. Probably even a great one. He could become the ace or the No. 2 guy on a first-place team. I was flabbergasted when he didn't win Rookie of the Year, and his start in Game 163 against the Minnesota Twins for a playoff berth demonstrated a level of deftness rarely seen by several quality pitchers.
But … yuck. It might be a good idea to send Kid Rick down to the minors for a bit. He did pick up his second win of the season Friday night, but his seven-plus ERA went up yet again as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim relentlessly scored five runs on eight hits, mostly during two-strike counts.
It's astonishing. The league average for hitters with two strikes on them is .179. Last year, opponents hit .219 against Porcello with two strikes. This year, the average is .324.
The 2-2 count is also a very pitcher-friendly situation (.202 average). Half of the batters who face Porcello and reach the 2-2 counts get a base hit. He's throwing strikes, and he's not walking many (his strikeout ratio is actually up a little), but for whatever reason, he can't close the door on several hitters.
This isn't a matter of luck. The boy's getting hit hard, and a few weeks in Toledo might help his confidence as well as his pitching.
In the meantime, Armando Galarraga looks ready to re-join the rotation. After being the lone bright spot on a disastrous 2008 team, Galarraga regressed last year and lost out to Eddie Bonine for an Opening Day roster spot. But in five starts for the Mud Hens, his ERA is a crisp 2.30 while allowing 24 hits and six walks in 31 1/3 innings.
Everything has been going swimmingly for the Tigers except for the youngest rotation in baseball, which has the worst ERA in the AL (5.23). Porcello is by no means Patient Zero in this epidemic of futility, but he is the best candidate to get some minor league schooling while another worthy starter can slog through May to help the Tigers stay afloat in the American League Central. Eight-run innings and relief pitchers can't save the team's ass every night.