It’s official: Rick Porcello’s suspension reduced to five games. He’s beginning to serve that suspension today.
— James Schmehl (@jamesschmehl) July 11, 2013
The announcement is meaningless, however, because of the length of the appeal and the upcoming All-Star Break. Detroit only has four games left until the break, and Porcello started last night, so he wouldn’t have been needed until after the break anyway. He’ll have to “miss” one game after the break, but because Porcello and the Tigers were able to delay the service of the penalty through the appeals process, they will be able to use the extra days of rest during break to reshuffle their rotation, effectively nullifying the suspension.
A six game suspension (or a five game suspension served during a stretch without an off-day) would normally cause a team to either plug in a spot starter or pitch a guy or two on short rest, but the Tigers, who will presumably have everyone rested and available following the break, wouldn’t have needed (or wanted) to use Porcello in the first couple of games following the break anyway. They’re likely to want to go something like Verlander-Scherzer-Sanchez-Fister.
So while the Tigers were able to reduce the suspension by a game through the appeals process, the real win was that they were able to delay the service of the suspension until after Rick had made his final start of the first half.