After getting hammered by the Mets on June 28, Rick Porcello has had five straight solid starts in the month of July and he appears to be turning the corner in his development. He won all five of his starts, pitched at least six innings in all but one of those starts and he gave up three or fewer runs. He was just about lights out last night when he pitched eight innings and struck out six with walking anyone. He’s pretty much a lock to set a career mark in strikeouts this year. His rate per nine is up almost a full strikeout and while his walks are up, they’re only up a hair. If Porcello finishes strong, fifteen wins is pretty much a lock and if he keeps up what he started in July, you could see 17 wins. Not too bad for a guy that is effectively a senior in college.
I was listening to the game on the way home and Dan Dickerson and Jim Price made a big deal about how good of a hitter Victor Martinez is with two strikes. They definitely did their homework because Martinez is batting .317 with two strikes on him in 2011. Even more impressive, he’s hitting .308 after he goes 0-2. He’s actually hitting better when the pitcher is ahead (.347) then when he’s ahead (.296) in the count. Just looking at his splits some more, after he goes 3-0, he’s only hitting .222 but he has a .650 OBP. After 3-1, he’s hitting .360.
The Tigers now have their biggest lead of the season with a 2 1/2 game lead over the Indians. They’re three ahead of the White Sox. There’s still a lot of games within the division so these last couple of months should be interesting.
Brandon Inge is off to a nice start for the Mud Hens. In eleven games, he’s hitting .286 with three home runs. My guess is we’ll see him in September. The Tigers affiliates aren’t doing well this year. The only team with a solid chance at making the playoffs is Connecticut and even they have a losing record.
This afternoon it’s Duane Below going up against Dan Haren. I was hoping to get down to the game tomorrow to see the awesome pitching matchup between Justin Verlander and Jared Weaver but I don’t think I’m going to be able to pull it off. The Tigers are on Fox at 4 pm.