At the (Second) Quarter Pole: The Starters


The first part of the season featured some pretty solid starting pitching. At least every time through the rotation, the starters made a positive impact on the game. That hasn’t been the case of late. Besides Justin Verlander, the second quarter has been a disaster for Tiger starters. If the Tigs are going to make a splash in the second half, the complimentary starters are going to have to step their game up.

Justin Verlander Grade A+
Just, wow. Verlander is 6-0 with 2 CG in his last 8 starts. His last three starts have been breathtaking. He’s posted a 1.84 ERA, only 41 hits and six BB allowed in 63 2/3 innings through the second quarter. Batters are struggling for a Brandon Inge like .483 OPS. Justin has been outstanding.

Max Scherzer Grade D+
Max has been erratic to say the least in the second quarter of the season. He’s had a couple good starts mixed in with some awful ones. In 45 IP, max has allowed 54 hits and has a 6.6 ERA. His last outing was much better, but if the Tigers are going to contend, Max is going to have to step his game up in the second half of the season.

Rick Porcello Grade D+
Until the last 3 starts, Rick has actually pitched very well this season. Unfortunately, he’s fallen on hard times recently. His last three starts include 11 1/3 IP 28 hits and 18 ER. In addition, he’s only struck out 18 guys in his last 42 IP. That’s just not going to get it done. Whether he’s tipping his pitches, hurt, or just can’t find his rhythm, Rick is going to have to pull it together and eat innings for the Tigs going forward.

Brad Penny Grade D-
While Brad may be suffering from a high BABIP (.355) in his last 7 starts, that’s not the only reason he’s been bad. When you throw 39 innings in 7 starts, only strike out 19 in 39 2/3 innings, giving up an .898 OPS, and also 55 hits, you’re not doing too well. I don’t know if Brad is going to stay in the rotation much longer for the Tigs if he’s going to continue to throw like this. Maybe he will, though, we don’t have anyone better at the moment.

Phil Coke Grade F
After yesterday’s game, it’s evident Phil Coke needs to go back to the bullpen. He has been consistent. Consistently bad. Not only has Phil not won a start in the second quarter of the season, he hasn’t gone 7 innings since Boston in mid-may. It’s time for this experiment to end. Coke has only struck out 12 batters in his last 7 starts, spanning 35 innings. Once again, that is just not going to get it done. Sorry Phil, I think it’s back to the pen.

Other than Verlander, in the second quarter, the Tiger starters combine for a stat line like this:
162 IP 203 H 6.0 ERA 88 K 55 BB
Awful, just awful.