Rick Porcello got kicked around again on Wednesday night. This has become a common occurrence throughout the 2010 season. Starting against the Chicago White Sox, he only lasted 3.1 innings, allowing eight runs.
Porcello's season ERA rose from 5.25 to 6.09.
Just like in most of his outings this season, he looked extremely hittable. I know that is a subjective evaluation, but this is an attribute that he did not seem to possess in 2009.
Consider a look at his statistics. Going into tonight's start, opponents were hitting a whopping .315 against Porcello this year, up from .267 last year. WHIP is also up from 1.34 to 1.65, which means he is allowing a ton of base runners, and voila, runs start scoring.
The Tigers have been making a flurry of roster moves the past couple weeks. One of those moves was to send SP Max Scherzer on a tune-up assignment to Toledo to find his form.
Upon his return Scherzer lit up the Oakland A's, striking out 14 in 5.2 innings. He did get kicked around by Kansas City in his last start, however, so the jury is still out as to whether or not this has been a completely successful move.
After tonight's awful performance, though, one would have to imagine the Tigers are considering sending Porcello on a vacation to Toledo for a couple weeks to have him work on something, anything.
His short term replacement is already on the roster. Enter Eddie Bonine, who, once again, was called upon to mop up a disastrous outing by a starting pitcher.
Bonine pitched four innings and was lights out for three of them. He was charged with three runs in his fourth frame, but two of those were inherited runners that Fu-Te Ni allowed to score in a rubbish heap performance.
Overall in the 2010 season Bonine has been great. I pointed this out a couple weeks ago, and my point is still valid. Bonine's ERA rises to a mere 2.30 after tonight, in 31.1 innings of work.
There are many virtues to moving Bonine to the rotation and sending Porcello down temporarily.
No one expects Porcello's struggles to be anything but temporary. It's called a sophomore slump, and they are real. The scouting reports have gotten around on Porcello and guys know how to hit him now. It's time to make adjustments, and a trip to Toledo expedites this process.
Moving Bonine to the rotation rewards a guy who has pitched outstanding baseball all season. He has only been in the bullpen because of a lack of rotation space. Time to make some room.
Finally, moving Bonine to the rotation opens the need for a relief pitcher. There are a few relievers having great seasons for the Mud Hens. This would be a chance to call one of them up for a couple weeks to see what they have.
Perhaps Daniel Schlereth or Jay Sborz? I think yes.
In the end what it comes down to is this: You can't let Porcello continue to get roasted by major league hitters all season. It could be an irrevocable blow to his composure and confidence.
Everyone seems to forget that he is only 21 years old. Bumps in the carpet like this have to be anticipated and ironed out.
Let's get the iron out in Toledo for two weeks.