I’ve been acquiring all sorts of stats and links, time for a bunt singles update!
- Rick Porcello won his fourth straight game yesterday. He won his fifth game for the season in eight starts. This is remarkable for two reasons. The first, the 20-year-old rookie now leads the Tigers in wins. Second, he’s the only Tigers starter to have a decision in each of his starts. In eight starts, he’s 5-3. He hasn’t given up a home run in the month of May after allowing six in April. That decision to bring him up in just his second professional season is looking better and better, isn’t it?
- An assist goes to MLB.com’s Jason Beck for this one: Porcello’s four consecutive wins is the most by a pitcher 20-or-younger since Seattle’s Felix Hernandez did it. Good company to be in.
- (update) from the Tigers’ game notes today: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Porcello is one of six pitchers since 1900 to win four straight starts while allowing one-or-fewer runs in a single season prior to turning 21 years old. Porcello joins Christy Mathewson (six straight in 1901 at age 20), Chief Bender (four straight in 1903 at age 19), Walter Johnson (five straight in 1908 at age 20), Fernando Valenzuela (seven straight in 1981 at age 20) and Kerry Wood (four straight in 1998 at age 20).
- That’s reallly good company to join.
- Looking at the rest of the staff, Armando Galarraga, Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson each have six decisions in either eight or nine starts. Willis has one in two starts, and Zach Miner three in four starts. (Miner’s most recent win, giving him a 3-1 record, came in relief.)
- Jim Leyland was at his quotable best recently when speaking to reports. Found at Jim Hawkins’ blog these two gems:
In spring training, I didn’t know Luke French from Sammy Spanish. Then all of a sudden, they tell me, here he is: Luke French. Who the hell is Luke French?
I read where Ramirez said after the game that God did it. I’m not so sure about that.
I’m not sure either one of them can hit a slider.
- The Tigers are 24-16 (.600) through 40 games this year. You remember that 40-game mark is when former Tigers manager Sparky Anderson said you can start to jduge a team. (Of course you remember it, because it’s pounded into your head on a yearly basis because you’re Tigers fans and every beat writer and blogger and forum poster mentions it, probably!) Their +39 run differential is the highest in the Central Division, the second best in the American League and third for the major leagues. Oh, and the Tigers have the fewest losses in the AL (16), although they have played among the fewest games thanks to some rainouts. They are tied with the Brewers for the second-fewest losses in baseball, with the Dodgers blazing the way with just 14 in 43 games.
- Here’s some historical comparisons. In 2008, the Tigers were a polar opposite 16-24 through 40 games, good for last place. We remember how that turned out. In 2007, they were 24-16 again, but with a smaller +18 differential. That wa good for second behind eventual division-winner Cleveland. And in 2006, the eventual wild-card Tigers were 27-13, on a seven-game winning stream and a whopping +64 differential.
- So, you know, historicaly speaking, it’s not a bad place to be for a team the experts figured for last place. I’ll work on a post this weekend looking at how the Tigers’ 40-game start this season compares to the other recent ones.
- Wonder why they’re winning? Try pitching. Detroit’s ERA is 3.96, third in the AL. The starters have a 3.85 ERA. They’re first in strikeouts per nine innings (7.49), third in strikeouts per walk (2.03), and second in OPS against (.713). (stats from ESPN.com)
- Fox Sports Detroit’s twitter feed provides this stat: Tigers starting pitching this homestand has 2.70 ERA - and that includes the 5 ER for Gallarraga. Rest have 1.60 ERA.
- So how long until the national media discovers the Tigers? Of course, that didn’t go so well for the Rangers, did it? And the Royals have stumbled since this. So after the past two seasons of the Tigers being in the spotlight, I much prefer it no one outside the state of Michigan knows how good this team is.
- Like me, Billfer didn’t object to Jackson throwing 132 pitches so much a couple days ago, as he objected to Jackson staying in the game long enough to give up the lead in the eighth inning. (Detroit Tigers Weblog)
- BigJP thinks Brandon Inge is fulfilling his All-Star potential. I think he’s playing like an All-Star. He’s leading third basemen in home runs and playing spectacular defense. But you know the fans won’t vote him in (you will try though, right?) and I doubt he gets a nod from the players and managers either. We’ll just have to enjoy our secret here in Detroit I guess. (Always a Tiger)
- A late addition. Rockies manager Clint Hurdle — from Big Rapids! — is enjoying his return to Michigan. But for a guy who desperately needs to win baseball games to keep his job, what was he doing visiting Allen Park, the home of the 0-16 Detroit Lions? (Rockies’ MLB.com site)
- My blog is now being syndicated at Bleacher Report, but you know, keep reading it here, hey?