Rick Porcello had a rough start but he walked away with the win because the Tigers put 10 runs on the board. The Tigers hit three home runs in an eight run fourth inning. Gerald Laird belted a two run shot, Scott Sizemore had a solo home run and then Brennan Boesch hit a grand slam to finish up the damage. For Boesch and Sizemore, it was his first career home run.
Austin Jackson went five for five with two runs and his fifth stolen base. The last time a Tiger had five hits in a game was Curtis Granderson on 7/30/2008. The last time a player went five for five was Placido Polanco on 7/27/2007 so it’s been a few years.
The only Tiger starter who didn’t have a hit was Magglio Ordonez and he only played half the game. Johnny Damon also had a nice game and he went three for four with a double, a triple, two runs and two RBIs.
Rick Porcello gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings and while he continues to struggle, he evened his record to 2-2. It’s Porcello’s third straight rough start. I didn’t get to watch much of the game so I’m not sure what the problems are but he’s still keeping the ball down (11 ground ball outs to three fly ball outs). Ryan Perry helped Porcello out in the sixth and he struck out three in 1 2/3 shutout innings. Jose Valverde pitched a perfect ninth in a non-save situation.
Heading into the game, the Tigers bullpen ERA was 2.22 which is best in the American League. They’re holding the opposition to a .614 OPS although I was a little surprised that the strikeout rate wasn’t a bit better. Then again, guys like Brad Thomas and Eddie Bonine don’t strike out a lot of guys and they counter balance guys like Fu-Te Ni and Joel Zumaya.
Speaking of Zumaya, he had another nice outing yesterday (two shutout innings) after an outing in which he gave up his first earned runs. He still hasn’t walked a batter, which is phenomonal. In 55 plate appearances, he’s only gone to three balls eleven times and he’s gone to a full count nine times.
And what’s gotten into Fu-Ten Ni. He has 14 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings this year. Last year, he had 21 strikeouts in 31 innings. Unfortunately, his walk rate is up as well. Still, he’s been effective although his 1.69 ERA is a bit deceiving when you look at his 1.500 ERA.
The Twins won so the Tigers sit a game and a half back of first. Still, a 14-10 April isn’t anything to scoff at. They’ve done well in their division which is big and while they had the rough stretch, they’ve bounced back and are playing some good baseball. Tomorrow afternoon, it’ll be Scott Kazmir against Jeremy Bonderman. Bonderman’s had two mediocre outings, one good one and one really bad so we’ll see which Bonderman we’ll see tomorrow.