I was celebrating Greek Easter with my family today and could not watch the Tigers 8-2 victory over the Mariners. All I saw was scores at the bottom of ESPN but it looks I missed an excellent pitching performance by Rick Porcello. He got through seven innings on just 86 pitches, allowing just five hits, walking nobody and compiling a solid 11/7 ground out/air out ratio.
That kind of efficient performance is becoming commonplace with the Tigers staff this year. They now lead the league in fewest walks per game (2.75) and strikeout/walk ratio (2.70). Compare that to last year when they walked 3.98 batters per game and and had a 1.54 K/BB ratio. It sounds like Rick Knapp is turning them into the Twins, a team which consistently walk among the fewest batters in baseball. Like last year's Twins, the Tigers pitchers also have a below average ground ball rate (39%). That won't be a problem though if they continue to keep runners off the bases.
Ramon Santiago continues to fill in nicely for the flu ridden Adam Everett. Ramon got two more hits and five RBI today and is now batting .320 with 11 RBI in 26 at bats. He is going to take Everett's job if Adam continues to field as poorly as he did the first week of the season. Everett has a history of brilliant defense though so they'll likely have some patience with him.
Another role player who is doing a good job is Josh Anderson. Anderson is doing well filling in for Carlos Guillen when Carlos needs to be the designated hitter. He is batting .353 in 17 at bats and also fills in as a pinch runner and defensive replacement. I was originally concerned that Jim Leyland might over use him but so far he is picking his spots and using him appropriately I think.