Category Archives: Rick Porcello

Completely FredFred

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Rick Porcello is on some kind of pitcher’s high right now. He’s thrown two complete game shut-outs in a row, this latest requiring only 95 pitches. Do you know how you throw a complete game in 95 pitches?

–A lot of sinking fastballs that induce relatively easy ground-ball outs.
–A gentle and loving relationship with the baseball.
–An effective training regimen and sufficient hydration.
–The skill of Being Good at Baseball.

You know the last time the Tigers had a pitcher who threw back-to-back complete game shut-outs? It was 1986 and the pitcher was Jack Morris and FredFred was not even a living human being on this earth yet, because he is a child who was born in 1988. He has never existed in a world that has contained a Tigers pitcher who has thrown back-to-back complete game shut-outs until now, and he is himself that pitcher. Glorious.

That is Not a Bunt, and Other Illustrations.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

A dude meets the baseball with his bat. The baseball hits that dude in the leg. The baseball then sort of bounces away from the dude, in the general direction of most things we would call bunts. But this baseball is not a bunt! Because– were you following closely?– it hit the batter in the leg before it went in that bunt-erly direction.

Complicated, I know, which is why there is a Terrible Cartoon explaining it up top. I have tried to make it as clear as clear can be. Alas, this was not clear enough for the umpires in Sunday’s game, who called Alberto Gonzalez’s obvious FOUL BALL a bunt single instead, which may not seem so bad as bad calls go, but it was a bunt single that SCORED THE WINNING RUN in the 11TH INNING, so… yeah, not cool. Not cool at all, umpires.

We may need to make sure the above diagram is printed and distributed to all umpiring crews in Major League Baseball. They may have it free of charge. I want neither fame nor fortune; I only want justice to be done.

Anyways. Other things:

I call this The Exquisite Suffering of Rick Porcello, For Which We Have No Real Explanation.

Remember when Prince Fielder stole a base? Remember when that was a real thing that really happened in a baseball game that counted? Whenever these latest Tigers failures start to get you down, just think back to that stolen base, and the jetpack that clearly had to be there to make it happen.

And hey, you know who got two hits on his own birthday, back on April 18? THIS CAT! Happy 29th, Miggy!

Don’t be sad, Rick Porcello.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

There, there, Rick Porcello. It’s ok.

Did last night’s game start to lose cohesion while you were on the mound? Sure. Four runs in six innings, that’s not great. I mean, you hit Jorge Posada, then gave up hits to Russell Martin and Derek Jeter. You don’t want to let Jeter start the scoring, FredFred. It gets the Yankee fans too excited; it’s almost indecent. Think of the children.

In the next inning, nobody scored, but you hit Mark Teixeira. I don’t object on principle, mind you– hit Teixeira as much as you want on your own time, or in nominal garbage time during the regular season. Not a great thing to be hitting dudes left and right during the playoffs, though. I’m not trying to make you feel any worse than you already do, FredFred. I’m just saying.

Victor homered and it started to seem like things might be OK. But that’s where you started to lose it. Martin singled, again. Gardner singled. Jeter did a bunt-thing. Then Curtis Granderson hit an RBI double, striking at the very heart of Tigers fans everywhere. Then A-Rod hit a sac fly to score Jeter, which is also just disgusting. Think of the kittens, FredFred.

After that most of the damage can be attributed to the bullpen, and to the curious failure of the bats, but it was already too late. And it was your very first postseason appearance, FredFred– we know how you were SO looking forward to it.

BUT IT’S OK! We are here to tell you that the blame is not yours. You are the victim here, my kittenish friend. You are the victim of your own teammates, and a victim of the unimpeachable fact of Curtis Granderson’s awesomeness, and the latest in a long line of victims to the Yankee regime.

There there, Rick Porcello. Dry your tears, raise your head, and go help Paws turn Yankee Stadium into his own personal litter box.

a variety of Tigers things, related in the usual manner

So I haven’t posted in a few days. Things have been busy in RotTLand, you know, a bunch of work stuff, some friends I don’t get to see much up to visit, cat vomit to clean off the carpet, the usual. Anyways. Here’s a round-up of some of the things that have been happening.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

You know I was in Detroit, right? It was hot. It was WICKED hot.

But it was OK, because I got to see Jacob Turner’s debut! So exciting for Rick Porcello; for one brief moment, he was the baby in the rotation no longer. Of course then Turner went right back down and Porcello was back to being the tiniest kitten.

I mean, there are rookies on the team, and FredFred (in his third season!) is still the youngest. It must be kinda rough. He’s probably hoping Turner comes back in September and then Porcello can say things like “KIDS THESE DAYS” to someone in the clubhouse who’s not Little Victor.

We were THISCLOSE to seeing Justin Verlander throw another no-hitter in the Sunday game. I have never seen a no-hitter in person and although I get out to a fair number of baseball games, I rarely get to see them in Detroit, so I was sitting there (roasting in the sun), thinking… oh man, imagine if Verlander does this and I get to see him do it, at home! Also, it seemed only fair that we be rewarded with a truly remarkable game if we were going to sit in those scorched frying pan seats for 9 innings.

Alas, such riches were not to be mine. Justin was still immense, though, and it was still A Thing to See.

I finally met @WhosYourTiger and he took me around the ballpark to look at some things I would not have looked at otherwise and it was exactly like this.

What else has been happening? Hmm.

Austin Jackson made a RIDICULOUS catch. Like an old school Torii Hunter Spiderman move, but he was catching air, so it was more of a Superman. I drew him with a cape but that’s really the only thing that I changed. He saw the ball going over the wall, said to himself, “Mmm… nope,” and stole that home run away. The kind of play to give a fan with a delicate constitution a proper attack of the vapors.

If you haven’t seen it already you should really watch the video, if only to hear Rod’s call and way his voice breaks from sheer joy.

Victor hurt his knee doing one of his weird little dances at the plate. He is back in the game tonight, which is how behind I am on Current Tigers Events, but it was still not pleasant to see at the time. My first thought was OH NOOOO and my second thought was Oh my goodness I hope Little Victor is not watching this.

He’s DHing tonight and right now he’s 1-for-3, so that’s OK, I guess. It’ll definitely be something to watch, though: even Jim Leyland has admitted that Alex Avila has been beaten up a bit too much at this point in the season, and now his backup has this knee strain or sprain or whatever that has nominally healed, but you KNOW how those things are when it comes to recurrences and re-tweakings, especially when it comes to the Tigers. And Victor has a ton of wear on his knees already, lots more than Random Infielder X would have, on account of his accumulated years of catching experience.

So we all say that Avila has to rest more, but do you really want to take Victor away from the DH spot too often and risk him getting hurt, or more hurt, or whatever? Do you bring up another catcher and hope you can limp along on a slightly smaller bullpen or bench until the rosters expand in September (unlikely)? Do you tell Don Kelly to start getting his gear ready again? DO YOU JUST WORRY ABOUT EVERYTHING EVER, LIKE ROAR OF THE TIGERS?

Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland were both signed to contract extensions. Leyland is locked up through the 2012 season and Mr. D is on board for four more years, through 2015. My thoughts on this move are really disorganized and I’m not sure you need to hear them, but generally I am in favor. Generally. I would like Leyland to actually DO something about the players he overuses, though, instead of just giving the overuse lip service.

I mean, the fact that he even acknowledges it now is some progress, but let’s take this thing all the way to the pot of freshly rested ballplayer gold at the end of the rainbow, you know?

I also hope the Dombrowski contract contained a Striped Shirt clause.

And for no real reason, here’s Doug Fister wearing Hulk Hands.

a quick reminder for Rick Porcello and other Tigers pitchers

Hey, FredFred! Do you see this guy? This one right here:

all photos by Samara Pearlstein

OK, you do see him, right? Great. Great. Do you know who he is? We can help you out. His name is Jason Hammel. Probably sounds vaguely familiar, huh? Like maybe you heard of him before this game started. Maybe someone mentioned him, oh, once or twice.

Do you know what he does?

Here. Let us help you out:

Does that clear things up? Do you see what he’s doing? No?

Yeah. He’s pitching. This is because Jason Hammel is a pitcher. Now, I know you’re not used to thinking about pitchers facing you at all, but you’re in an NL park right now and you need to remember that pitchers can hold bats. But they generally aren’t very good at it, because they’re still pitchers. In fact, this is more along the lines of what you should expect to see with a pitcher at the plate:

Attempting to bunt, and probably failing. That’s what pitchers do, FredFred. Jason Hammel is batting .160 and that is just about right.

So when you are facing the pitcher, with the bases loaded, the LAST thing I want or expect you to do is WALK IN THE PITCHER to SCORE A RUN. That is NOT how you handle a PITCHER in that situation, FredFred. I can only assume that you didn’t realize he was the pitcher, and thought you had to carefully handle a legitimate batter, to make sure he didn’t hit a grand slam or something.

Or we can blame it on Evil Twin Rick Porcello. Whichever.

This post brought to you by: the fact that I was excited I actually had photos I could use for an interleague game post.

Evil Twin Max has a new friend: Evil Twin Rick Porcello

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

I hate to do this again, but what can you say? It just didn’t look like Rick Porcello out there. He only lasted three innings, and realistically could have been pulled before he’d completed that third frame. He gave up six runs on six hits, including two home runs. He threw 75 pitches and was on track for 8 billion. He couldn’t keep the balls on the ground, which is where he has to live if he wants to have success. His understanding of the strikezone was vague at best.

It must have been Evil Twin FredFred. Who else would seemingly wear the Porcello body, but pitch with such dastardly disregard for the Porcello Way?

Evil Twin FredFred played four full years of college ball at Duke before being drafted. He is the first in his family to carry his particular name. He has some random no-name schlub for an agent. He induces a ton of fly balls. He can’t stand Ryan Perry. And he has a goatee, of course.

But hey… Charlie Furbush! He looked simply splendid. Coming on in relief of Porcello there was not much he could do to win the game for the Tigers, but he certainly went above and beyond in terms of preventing any further damage. He stayed in for 5 innings, giving up ZERO runs to a Sox lineup that had already gotten a taste of blood. He allowed only two singles, and walked two. He struck out six. SIX! In 5 innings! Rookie Furbush!

I reckon that deserves an updated Furbush:

The high socks have been added to his trunkbits, since he is wisely rocking them, and his fur has been changed to tiger-patterned, because that is only natural. But maybe there will be a series of Furbushes, in a variety of cat coat patterns? We shall have to see. If he continues to pitch like this, all things are possible.


Here are the recent moves, in case you’ve been losing track in all the madness:

–Magglio Ordonez to the DL with ‘general decrepitude’.
–Andy Dirks called up to take Magglio’s spot.
–Brayan Villarreal sent to Toledo.
–Enrique Gonzalez called up to take Villarreal’s spot.
–Brad Thomas to the DL with ‘elbow sadness’.
–Charlie Furbush called up to take Thomas’ spot.
–Phil Coke sent to the DL with a mutant foot.
–Adam Wilk called up to take Coke’s roster spot, although he’s not in the rotation.
–Scott Sizemore traded to Oakland for David Purcey.
–Danny Worth called up to more or less take Sizemore’s spot.
–Andy Oliver called up from Toledo to start Saturday.
–Ryan Perry sent to Toledo to clear room for Oliver (and maybe straighten his pitching brain out at the same time).

I think that’s all the recent stuff? I still assume they’re sending someone out to make room for Purcey, but they haven’t made that move yet. Feel free to let me know if I’ve missed something. It’s so hard to know for sure, especially when there’s been so much turnover that they’re probably having to play rock-paper-scissors just to decide who has to carry the Snack Pack out to the bullpen.

Eight Nights of Terrible Chanukah Cartoons: Night Four

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I don’t have a whole lot to add to this. Just accept it.

Mighty Mouse! Here he comes to save the day!

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Will Rhymes hit his first big league home run! In a big league ballpark! With a big league baseball bat! In a big league baseball game, against a big league pitcher! Zack Greinke, even! Exclamation points!!!

I don’t have much else to say about this game, as I did not actually see it, because I was watching the Red Sox lose to the Orioles at Fenway. I guess it wasn’t pretty, but a W is a W. EAT IT, .500!

(Another Tigers win while RotT is at Fenway… time to start the ‘Mr. Ilitch pays RotT to go to every single Red Sox home game next summer’ campaign right now.)

The only other thing I have to contribute is this text message conversation between me and my brother. I had been keeping an eye on the out of town scoreboard at the ballpark, and was pleased to see that the Tigers were winning… until I noticed that, very suddenly, they were not.

RotT: Wtf is FredFred doing??
RotT brother: Well I’ll tell you what he’s not doing, and that’s pitching well in a meaningless game.
RotT: sadface.

And then I had to explain the origin of the FredFred nickname to my Red Sox fan seatmate. So… I don’t know if I had a point there. Oh, right. DON’T DO IT AGAIN, FREDFRED. Not when the games matter, anyways. OK? OK. Great. I’m glad we’ve got that settled.

Porcello goes down, Scherzer picks himself up

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Bullet points because the blogger should have been asleep hours ago.

–Our little FredFred has been sent to Toledo to work out his Issues. Now… we can’t really deny that he HAS been struggling. And he’s just a kitten still. This is only his second season in the big leagues, he’s only 21 years old, and he only spent one year at single-A before coming up. He’s actually never played for the ‘Hens before. The idea is that he can work through the Issues in Toledo, taking as much time as he needs, and it won’t be as big a deal because his mistakes and angst won’t impact the big league record directly.

I know this did just work out quite well for Max Scherzer recently, but Scherzer is older in both baseball and number-of-years-alive terms and is thus a little better suited to handle it. I have to admit that when I first heard that Porcello had been sent down, my initial reaction was one of panic. Not so much WAT ARE THE TIGERS GONNA DO FOR A STARTER, more THIS IS GONNA MESS WITH HIS HEAD AND DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA FREDFRED SADFACE.

Then I realized… wait. Ryan Perry is coming off the DL very soon. He will need rehab work in the minors. Maybe (probably?) Toledo. And if FredFred has his BFF there with him, I think he’ll be much more able to handle the perceived indignity of being sent down in the way that he was. I feel very certain about this. I believe in the bromance.

–Max Scherzer’s start against Arizona was crazycats. He threw so many pitches in the first inning, I was convinced he was going to have to be pulled in the 4th, and the score would be a million to one and all would be sadness, all would be woe.

Instead he somehow got himself under control, stayed in the game for 7 innings, struck out 8 and allowed only one run. He ‘only’ threw 118 pitches. Yes, that is a number that would get me foaming at the mouth if we were talking about Justin Verlander, but given the fact that Scherzer used, like, three innings-worth of pitches just to get through the first, I am instead impressed that he managed to get through 7 with that total.

Thank cats the offense picked him up. For that sort of effort, he SO deserved a win.

–Austin Jackson came on defensively in the 9th. This is a good sign. All other things being equal, he should (should) be back starting on Tuesday, or very shortly thereafter.

–Jose Valverde and Miguel Montero are feuding and I love it. I LOVE IT.

On Friday, The Big Potato got the save. It only took him a few pitches to set down the final three batters. He got demonstrative, as he does. There was some hopping around, some fist-pumping, you know, nothing out of the ordinary for him. But Miguel Montero (who was struck out in that inning) did not appreciate the enthusiasm.

“He’s a (bleeping) (bleep),” Montero told the Arizona Republic. “The way he acts, it’s not right, you know” You’ve got to be professional. I’ve always felt that way. And I’ve always told him. That’s the way he is. I guess he thinks it’s right. But I don’t care.”

Montero was hoping Valverde saw his comments.

“You can write it down,” Montero said. “I hope he reads it. It’s all right. We’ll face him down the road at some point, and I guess I’m going to pimp it.”

Montero added he was surprised Valverde threw three consecutive splitters to get Montero out.

“I never suspected that,” said Montero, who hit a homer in Saturday’s 6-5 victory over the Tigers. “I didn’t think he had that kind of brain to throw three splits in a row. It surprised me.”
Ted Kulfan/Detroit News

Miguel Montero, buddy, don’t take it so personal. He has done this every time he’s gotten a save, or someone makes a good catch for him, or every time he gets a nice K. IT’S WHAT HE DOES. He’s an open, expressive guy whose emotions run hot on the mound. He’s a closer. He’s a little bit eccentric and a little bit flamboyant and we love him for it, OK, we love him wicked hard, so step off.

The weird thing is that their time in Arizona overlapped (Montero came up in ’06, Valverde didn’t shift over to Houston until ’08), so Montero should totally know this already. Anyways, Papa Grande had some thoughts in response to Montero’s fightin’ words.

“I never liked Montero,” Valverde said Sunday morning. “He’s a (bleeping) piece of (bleep).

“If he wants to do something, tell him to come to my locker and let me know.”

“If you don’t want to strike out, don’t play baseball,” Valverde said. “Sit down on the bench. He was looking for a fastball? No. Go to the cage.

“Tell Montero he’s a freaking rookie and I can do whatever I want to . . . Tell Montero he has two years (in the majors) and I have eight.”
Nick Piecoro/Arizona Republic

Goodness GRACIOUS! I am clutching my pearls right now. What a bleeping piece of bleep, indeed! But how did Montero respond to this, um, strongly worded statement?

Montero laughed after having the comments relayed to him.

“I don’t think he’s got eight years because he got sent down seven or eight times,” Montero said.

“Yeah,” Montero said, “because he’s dumb. What do you want me to say? He’s smart. No. He’s just dumb.”
Nick Piecoro/Arizona Republic

So much anger, so much dislike. So fiesty, though! I probably should take some sort of hypothetical high road and talk about how petty and stupid this is, such an Insult to the Game, etc, but that would be a lie, I love this stuff. Although the idea of someone taking Papa Grande’s antics so personally, especially someone he played with, is still baffling.

–To New York! Weather and travel permitting, I WILL BE AT THE TUESDAY NIGHT GAME AT CITI FIELD. If you’re also planning to be there and you see me around, feel free to come on over and say hi! I’ll be carrying a big ol’ camera, I have short hair, and I will be wearing a 2009 All Star Game Brandon Inge jersey. There probably won’t be too many other people wearing that, so I should be relatively easy to spot.

Justin needs to win for me. Or no, not for me. WIN IT FOR THE SWEET MEMORY OF FREDFRED, JUSTIN. Do it for the wee kittens.

Curse you, Stomper. Curse you.

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I know it’s been all bullet points all the time around here lately, but I am simply too freakin’ tired for Real Person Paragraphs that are, like, all connected and coherent and whatever. It’s not happening.

–Two in a row dropped to the A’s! Ugh. It’s not even as if the A’s are bad this year. I just still have this idea that we should always be able to take on AL West teams. I am aware of the fact that the Central is the Division of Overarching Patheticness now, not the West, but this is just a vestigial bias of my own and I find it annoying to see it trod upon so carelessly by everyone involved. The Tigers should play up and the A’s should oblige us and play down. What is Mark Ellis doing hitting those home runs? I mean, really. What does he think this is, 2007?

–Carlos Guillen has played a couple of games at second base now. So far it has not been completely disastrous. From what I’ve seen he has actually looked more comfortable there than he ever really did at the corners, or maybe I’m imagining things because I want him to be OK. In my mind he has looked like a mostly competent second baseman. Not Placido Polanco, mind you, but then again no one else is.

–Speaking of Placido, Roy Halladay threw a perfect game for the Phillies today in Florida. In the pile afterward I saw a happy Placido all jumping around in there and I got all sad and jealous and sadly jealous. I wish Placido was still on our team, and that Justin Verlander would throw a perfect game so Placido could do happy perfect game jumps with him. SIGH.

–Rick Porcello had a ton of fly ball outs tonight for whatever reason. He’s usually a big groundball pitcher, so this was strange and uncharacteristic. In truth he wasn’t horrific in this one, just sort of uninspiring and vaguely inefficient (as opposed to acutely, or Justin Verlanderly, inefficient). Brad Thomas and Eddie Bonine were the cats who provided the pitcher suffering. Please note that while Bonine’s line doesn’t look so bad on the face of it, he inherited three baserunners from Thomas and let them all score.

–I had no idea, but ‘fly ball’, two words, is the baseball term. ‘Flyball’, one word, is a sport for dogs. Seriously. They have leagues and everything.

–I noticed that Miguel Cabrera is letting his horrifying chin fuzz grow out a bit. This doesn’t improve it, just makes its horrifying lack of cohesiveness, awkward fluffy fly-away texture, etc. even more obvious.

–Magglio Ordonez made a great catch in the 4th on a Kouz hit. He caught his cleat against the wall (in the space between the padding and the dirt, it looked like) and fell over, but he managed to make the catch as he was going down, and he held onto it for the out. I was honestly a bit terrified, because it looked like the kind of play where he tore every single bit of connective tissue in his foot and ankle, but he got up and stayed in the game, so I guess we should (?) assume that he’s OK.

–Forgot to mention this yesterday, but I saw The Farns pitch in Fenway for the Royals, and it was glorious. He has pitching goggles and a goatee now. I took about a million photos, which you lot will see eventually.

–Zach Miner had successful Tommy John surgery, ending his season. The hope is that he will be back by the time next season starts, maybe even by Spring Training if his rehab progresses very, very well. But you can definitely shelve any Miner-thoughts you were still having about 2010.

–Max Scherzer will be back from his Toledo interlude to start Sunday’s afternoon game in Detroit. He was very good in a couple of starts in triple A and now we shall see if his alleged mechanics adjustments actually apply up here, or if it was all smoke machines and clever use of mirrors.

But you can’t get something for nothing and somebody had to go to make room for Scherzer. There was some speculation that it would be Armando. But Armando is safe for now; instead it will be Dontrelle who is designated for assignment. Jason Beck seems to think this means that it’s all over with Detroit and Dontrelle:

…the Tigers technically will have 10 days to try to trade Willis or see if another team claims him on waivers. Neither option seems likely.

With Willis all but certain to decline a Minor League assignment, this essentially means the end of a pairing that went perplexingly bad from the start in 2008 and never saw Willis return to his Florida Marlins form.

For now, Willis will be in roster limbo but could well be headed for a release. Claiming Willis on waivers would involve taking on the rest of his contract. He is scheduled to make $12 million this season, the final year of the three-year, $29 million deal he signed with the Tigers after they acquired him from Florida in the Miguel Cabrera trade.

With Willis all but certain to decline a Minor League assignment, as is his right, he could become a free agent in a week and a half, which would allow him to sign with another team for the Major League minimum and have the Tigers pick up the rest of his salary. More importantly for him, he’ll get a fresh start in a new organization.
Jason Beck/

I don’t know why he’s so dead certain that Dontrelle would decline a minor league contract, but if so, this is sadface indeed. You all know that I love Dontrelle and want Dontrelle to work out so badly that I am rarely able to see reason where he is concerned. Does he have the worst numbers in the rotation right now? Yes? Well… I reject your numbers and substitute my own. So whatever.

Wherever he ends up, whatever he ends up doing, I just hope Dontrelle can find a way to be happy. Ever since I had to hear about his joy for the game of baseball being gone, that’s really all I’ve wished for him.