When a pitcher has his all-star moment, he knows it. Rick Porcello enjoyed his last night in the ninth inning. With a crowd on its feet, he put away the usually problematic Oakland Athletics' lineup as quickly as he had all night long: in order.
With the win, Porcello joined rarified Detroit Tigers' air. He was the first Tigers' pitcher to turn in back to back complete game shutouts since Jack Morris in 1986. Morris threw three straight. Before the all-star break, Porcello will have his chance to duplicate Morris's feat, given his next start will come against Tampa Bay on Sunday. Want more? Porcello's 72 wins through 168 Detroit games has only been exceeded by Denny McClain (89), Justin Verlander (84), Dan Petry (75) and Tommy Bridges (74). Some pretty elite company.
Whether he duplicates Morris's feat, adds more to his impressive win total or not, though, Porcello should easily have punched his ticket to the midsummer classic. An impressive 11-4 record has left him tied for the American League lead in wins. The earned run average is declining steadily to 3.12. The numbers are there, but more importantly, so is the eye test as for performances on the mound. There's no doubting Porcello is evolving into an elite pitcher.
There are plenty of impressive things about Porcello's development in 2014, but perhaps the most impressive is how he's rebounded from a rough stretch. After a hot start to the season, Porcello lost three of four starts between May 24 and June 9, but has rebounded to win four straight. In this currently electric stretch, he hasn't given up a run since a 4-3 win over Minnesota on June 15.
Considering many wondered aloud if the Tigers had entertained the notion of trading Porcello in the past, it's positive for his own development in the league. Hopefully now, he can feel totally confident that a move isn't on the horizon, and remain settled in with Detroit.
A Tigers resume which now includes plenty of accolades should receive a nice boost with a call to the All-Star Game. It would be a perfect reward for Porcello, a man who's been through more than most early in his young career.
Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.
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