By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – As the top of the fifth inning dragged on for what seemed like forever Tuesday night, Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello had to be thinking, Not again.
Of 47 earned runs Porcello has allowed this season, the Angels have scored 16 – nine on April 20 and seven Tuesday. Even though the Angels account for 34 percent of the runs he has given up, Porcello said the beatings had more to do with his performance than theirs.
“The first time around this year I think it was just a combination of some freak things and a couple bad pitches. Tonight was just me,” Porcello said. “I was off, and it just happened to be against the same team. If I make good pitches, I’m getting those guys out for sure, and I just didn’t do it tonight.”
While Porcello has undoubtedly struggled against the Angels hitters, Tuesday’s resounding defeat was a symptom of other problems.
“There’s some mechanical things that are going on that kind of just cropped up in my last start,” Porcello said, “so I need to tackle those and make sure those aren’t an issue in my next outing.”
Before his last two starts, Porcello’s ERA was 4.37 – less than stellar but not particularly unsettling. With the last two outings included, Porcello has an ERA of 5.27 after giving up 13 runs combined in those most recent games.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said the command was not there for Porcello Tuesday. He saw a few good change-ups but said the breaking ball was not very good.
Porcello said his early difficulty with the curveball made the rest of the outing easier for Los Angeles.
“The curveball was off, especially early on,” Porcello said. “Started to get it going a little bit, started throwing it for strikes, didn’t get any swing-and-misses on it tonight. I think that was the result of just showing them that I couldn’t – I wasn’t throwing it for strikes earlier. They basically eliminated it.”
Ultimately, Porcello said, his downfall resulted from throwing too many good pitches with two strikes and from giving opposing hitters too many easy at bats.
“There’s definitely some things to be learned from,” Porcello said. “The past two starts, I’ve been getting beat with fastballs up in the strike zone, so there’s obviously something that’s a little bit off there. I took a look at it when I came out of the game. There’s just some adjustments I need to make, and the biggest thing though is mentally bear down against those guys with two strikes.”
Porcello’s next expected start is at the Tampa Bay Rays on June 30.