It was an eventful day for the Tigers. Ryan Perry returned from from the disabled list. Enrique Gonzalez was out-righted to make room. Ryan Raburn played another game at second base and homered in the first inning. The Tigers then hung on to beat the Mariners 3-2 to finish with a 4-3 west coast trip.
The biggest development of the day though was Rick Porcello's performance. It's been a battle for the young right-hander this year. He began the season with two awful games. His third game versus the Athletics last week was a little better but not great. Today, he had his best start of the year and there were quite a few positives to take away from it.
Porcello used his sinker to keep the ball on the ground today and produced a 10/4 ground ball/ fly ball ratio. He typically does that when he's going well, but today he had more than that. He had his velocity back today as his four-seam fastball averaged 90.5 after being below 90 in a couple of earlier games (Brooks Baseball). In fact, he had all his pitches working pretty well in allowing one run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Rick's control was excellent as he walked just one batter. That was a relief to Jim Leyland who watched his staff issue 11 walks in last night's disaster. Perhaps the most encouraging part of his performance was his six strikeouts, all of them swinging. He used a variety of pitches to do it - two fastballs, one slider and three change-ups.
The development of Porcello may be the single most important thing the Tigers need to stay in the central division race this year. It's been a bumpy ride so far, but today's performance gives us reason to hope.