Jim Leyland passed Tommy LaSorda to become 17th on the list of wins as a manager with the Tigers 9-3 win last night. Leading the way for Leyland’s Tiger’s were Rick Porcello and Austin Jackson. Porcello didn’t allow a runner to reach scoring position until the 5th inning and Jackson was 4 for 5 with 2 RBI’s. Porcello’s main source of success for this outing was a mechanical change suggested by pitching coach Jeff Jones. Jones suggested that he raise his hands higher during his wind up to give Rick more balance and to slow his whole wind up down in order to make sure he keeps the ball down. It clearly seems to have worked. The key to Rick’s sinker ball game has always been to keep the ball down and cause ground balls. Even in Porcello’s first two starts when his statistics looked great, he was still leaving a lot of pitches up that were getting missed by hitters. and while getting hitters to miss pitches is generally what pitchers try to do, Porcello doesn’t have the kind of velocity to cause too many swings and misses. That’s why the sinker ball and ground balls are his game. If this mechanical change can allow him to keep the ball down, Tiger’s fans will see a lot more starts like this from Porcello. Jackson’s OBP has begun to creep back up to where it started this season and that spells nothing but good things for the Tigers offense. He’s still striking out some, but he’s looking at more pitches and his walk rate is way up compared to previous years. The batting average shouldn’t be a surprise given his speed and his tendency to hit to right field, but the increase in walks will be the difference in a much higher season OBP and cutting down those strikeouts. If Jackson can continue to get on base, and Porcello, Smyly, and Verlander can continue to pitch well, these Tigers will avoid the kind of stretch they’ve had recently. Hopefully they will avoid this type of stretch, because it was not a very fun few games to be a Tiger fan.
About the Author
Written by Brett Decker
I'm a graduate of Olivet Nazarene University with a degree in Social and Political Science. I love talking sports and welcome sports related tweets @decker_brett.