The Tigers now sit just 2 1/2 games back of the first place Indians after taking two of three in Chicago over the weekend. The Tigers have won five of six but they’re heading to Texas to take on an equally hot Texas Rangers team that’s won five straight. Josh Hamilton will also be in the lineup and the last time we saw him, he got hurt on that fluky play coming into home plate. The bad news is, he’s also been hot.
At some point in time, we’ll go back and revisit some of my predictions (which were pretty poor) but one of them was that Rick Porcello will step it up. Since April 15, he’s had just one rough start and he’s won five of six. Even in his two no-decisions, he had good starts. He’s even pitching deeper into games although he’s had two extended breaks during the season. With Phil Coke on the disabled list and with his recent success, I think those breaks will come to an end.
The good news, and this is where we tie in my prediction, Rick Porcello is striking out more batters. The bad news is his walk rate is a little higher as well but it’s in line with what he did in his rookie season. Still, I like that near one strikeout increase per nine innings and once he gets into the six range, we’re going to see the Rick Porcello we were hoping for back when the Tigers drafted him.
Andy Oliver was up and now he’s back down with Toledo with Phil Coke coming back on Wednesday. He had one decent start and one poor start and hopefully he can keep improving with Toledo because I think we’ll see him at some point in time later in the season.
Brandon Inge hit the DL with mono and Omir Santos is up. Don Kelly has gotten the past couple of starts but Danny Worth is another option at the hot corner.
The Tigers don’t get a break because they start things off against the Rangers tonight. Max Scherzer tries to right his ship and the Tiger hitters will go up against Colby Lewis.