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The team has been a roller coaster all year. When one aspect excels (starters, bullpen, lineup), another seems to fail.
Justin Verlander has been incredible this year but the guys behind him have been iffy. Max Scherzer had one great and one decent outing after a few starts in which he gave up 19 runs in 13.2 innings, good for a 12.51 ERA and raised his cumulative ERA from 2.98 to 4.68. But let’s say he is pulling out of it and does about what he did last season, post-demotion.
That still leaves Rick Porcello, Phil Coke and Brad Penny.
Porcello has looked great this year but still gets hit around every now and then. His fastball is about 90 MPH and peaks at about 92. When you aren’t a flamethrower and you rely on groundballs, you need to hit your spots and you can definitely tell whether or not Porcello is doing so.
Coke was a guy that I was hoping would pull an Adam Wainwright. Obviously that didn’t happen but he is not doing as bad as some people thought he would have. He also battles control problems but he was able to go seven innings at Boston, giving up three hits and walking one. If anyone new is brought in, Coke should be moved to the bullpen.
At one point, Penny looked completely unhittable. There are two starts off the top of my head that he looked dominant: in Toronto and against the White Sox. Penny has definitely been a groundball pitcher this year, sporting a 1.52 GO/FO ratio. However, he is a No. 5 guy and his performance has been respectable for one.
Suggestions: Charlie Furbush, Paul Maholm, Erik Bedard