Rick Porcello Blanks A’s, First Tiger Since Jack Morris To Accomplish Shutouts In Consecutive Starts

Rick Porcello probably wasn’t the first name on your mind if anybody asked you who would be the Tigers’ ace this season. Playing on a roster that includes two of the last three American League Cy Young Award winners, it’s unlikely anyone would have predicted that Porcello would be poised to go into the All Star break tied leading the Tigers in wins (11) and Earned Run Average (3.41). In fact, Rick Porcello’s 11 wins are tied for the lead in all the Major Leagues. What’s more, he’s done it in just 16 games.

It’s probably too early to point out that if he keeps up this pace, Rick Porcello could win 20 games this year, but opposing hitters had better take heed, because the Tiger’s hurler is on fire.

In case you missed it, Porcello just threw another shutout, holding the A’s to four hits. It only took him 95 pitches to finish the game, his second consecutive complete game shutout. According to an AP report, no Tigers pitcher has thrown consecutive complete game shutouts since July 1986 when Jack Morris threw three in a row.

That was a different era. Starting pitchers often pitched complete games back then, even if they weren’t shutting the other team out. Jack Morris threw 15 complete games that year – six of them shutouts – and that wasn’t even his career best (20 complete games, one shutout in 1983). This is Rick Porcello’s sixth year in the Big Leagues and he came into it with only one complete game under his belt.

Given the Tigers’ bullpen woes– something that many think could be a major hindrance in their attempts to bring a World Series championship to Motown – Rick Porcello’s sudden ability to pitch deep into games has given the Tigers a major shot in the arm.

The one down side to Porcello’s second consecutive shutout is that he didn’t log a single strikeout against the A’s. Strikeouts are the one major stat that Porcello doesn’t lead among Tigers pitchers. A Yahoo Sports report quotes Rick Porcello saying this about the lack of K’s tonight:

“In the last couple innings, I was hoping I’d get at least one strikeout. ‘I didn’t want to go out there and put up a zero. Still, with a game like this, I’m certainly not going to trade it in for anything.”

Tonight’s complete game shutout comes on the heels of last week’s 6-0, three hit blanking of the Texas Rangers. According to an AP report, Rick Porcello (11-4) has now logged 24 scoreless innings over his last three starts – all wins.