Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Forget about Tanaka: New Jersey’s Rick Porcello is making a bid for Cy Young Award – Ryan Hagerty, NJ.com
Step aside, Masahiro Tanaka. Detroit Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello also has emerged as an American League Cy Young Award candidate this season.
Porcello, who was an All-State selection and Star-Ledger Player of the Year at Seton Hall Prep, won his 11th game on Tuesday night in a complete-game shutout — and made history:
In a 3-0 win over the Oakland A’s, Porcello became only the fourth pitcher in franchise history to throw a shutout without walking or striking out a batter, and the first since Dizzy Trout in 1944.
A month ago, the idea of Rick Porcello being a candidate to start the All Star Game would have made heads spin, and now he’s being mentioned in (beyond early) Cy Young talk? What the what? But here’s the thing, Porcello has posted a 3.12 ERA with a WHIP of 1.125, which is enough to place him among the top 12 pitchers in the AL in both catergories. At this point, it’s a long shot, sure. But Ricky shouldn’t be counted out, not when he’s got a streak of 25 consecutive scoreless innings.
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Following the 2014 season, Max Scherzer will sign a contract worth more than $100 million.
A year later, Rick Porcello likely will too.
Those who have not seen the incremental improvements Porcello has made since the start of the 2013 season have not been paying attention. Those who saw Porcello in his past two starts have seen something no Tigers fan has seen out of a hometown starting pitcher in almost 30 years.
Again, it seems the “Porcello’s going to have a breakout season” narrative has FINALLY come to fruition. Tigers’ fans and analysts have been predicting this for years, and now that it appears to be happening, and in a truly amazing way, why wouldn’t Rick be looking forward to cashing in on his success?
Jun 26, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello (21) is congratulated by catcher Alex Avila (13) after he pitched a complete game shut out of the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Detroit beat Texas 6-0. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Porcello shows continued improvement during scoreless streak – Rob Rogacki, Bless You Boys
There are currently two starting pitchers in baseball with scoreless streaks totaling 25 innings or more. One is Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, current Best Pitcher in Baseball™ and a near-lock to win his third Cy Young award in four years. The other is Rick Porcello, who, for all his faults, is making a late push for his first All-Star appearance. Porcello has tossed back-to-back shutouts — the first two of his career — and has not allowed a run in his last 25 innings. His ERA has dropped by almost a full run, from 4.03 to 3.12.
His latest effort, Tuesday night’s four-hitter against the Athletics, was especially impressive because of one peculiar stat line: zero strikeouts. Porcello recorded 17 ground ball outs (and no double plays), none of which required a sparkling effort from his infield defense. He was ruthlessly efficient, needing just 95 pitches to record his 27 outs.
So what has made Porcello so effective during this stretch?
For one, Porcello has done a fantastic job of getting strike one. He has thrown 56 of 84 first-pitch strikes in his last three outings, a 66 percent clip. Opposing batters are hitting .248/.278/.366 when they go down 0–1 against Porcello in his career, and .243/.269/.381 this season.
Despite all those first pitch strikes, Porcello also has done a great job of keeping the ball out of the middle of the plate. He has pounded the lower half of the strike zone, hitting the lower outside corner with ease.
Rogacki shows Porcello’s stats and analyzes what exactly has changed with Porcello and his approach. His success in keeping the ball down and away has been key, and you can’t ignore that his improvement against lefties. The stats are there to back up the improvements, and all you need to do is watch him pitch to see.