The Promise of Rick Porcello


I never got around to writing a recap of the game yesterday. Valerie and I took our infant daughter to the game and by the time we got home and got all the kids ready for bed I was too tired to write. The game was fun and Amity was the star of the show, at least for the dozen or so people sitting near us in section 105A. She was an angel.

Lost in the celebration of Amity’s first visit to the CoPa was a tremendous effort by Rick Porcello. The second-year right hander hurled eight strong innings, holding the Twins to one run, coming on a solo homer by Delmon Young. Other than that, three lousy singles were all the Minnesota bats could muster against Porcello.

By any calculation, the 2010 season has been a disappointment for Porcello. Tabbed as the number two starter entering the year, Porcello was given the honor of starting the Home Opener. But he hasn’t come close to matching the tremendous season he authored in 2009.

After struggling mightily early in the year, Porcello was demoted to AAA. When he was recalled, he pitched well enough to stay in Detroit, but not well enough to take the next step forward in his growth as a pitcher. At least not until recently.

One of the big problems facing Porcello this year has been in locating his pitches. Too often he has left his sinker up in the zone, too often he has missed with his secondary pitches, and too often he has relied on his fastball exclusively. In his past few outings, he has been much better in all areas. Yesterday was no exception.

In his past six starts, Porcello has posted a 2.98 ERA. He’s had a couple of bad outings in that group, including a five run on 12 hit effort against Kansas City, but overall he’s been a reasonably good number three. He’s also shown over the past month that he hasn’t lost the ability to control a lineup and to limit the success of the batters.

Overall, Porcello stands at 10-11 and his ERA is still north of five. A strong outing in his final start in Baltimore could get his back to .500 and get his ERA back to respectability. Regardless of how he does against the O’s, Porcello has cemented his role in next year’s rotation. Hopefully 2010 will be a stepping-stone on his path to stardom, a mere blip in an otherwise outstanding career.

He’s got the stuff, he’s got the maturity, he’s got the game plan for success. All he needs now is the consistency.