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Inside the Numbers: is Rick Porcello Becoming a Cy Young Candidate for Detroit Tigers?

August 21st, 2014 at 10:56 AM
By Max DeMara

For the first part of 2014, a bit surprisingly, Rick Porcello was the Detroit Tigers' most consistently dominating starting pitcher.

Then, with a few bad performances, he hit a rough patch and came back to earth. Wednesday night, though, Porcello showed signs of rediscovering his dominance in a fantastic start against the Tampa Bay Rays. Might the resurgence be helpful in getting Porcello back into the conversation for the Cy Young award?

Just prior to the All-Star break, Porcello had been rocked by the Rays' lineup in his final home start of the first half. Last night, he was flat out dominating, pitching nine innings, striking out four and picking up his third complete game shutout of the year in an impressive 6-0 win.

All told, Porcello's numbers are improving. He's now 14-8 with a 3.10 ERA and an even 100 strikeouts. He's tied for the league lead in wins with teammate Max Scherzer and Scott Kazmir, and places 14th in the ERA battle,

It will be interesting to see what happens down the stretch. Including Scherzer, Porcello could have a battle for Detroit inclusion with David Price for Cy Young consideration. Prior to a tough start on Tuesday, Scherzer had been getting hotter, and might have the inside track to repeating if he continues to collect wins as well as strikeouts.

Porcello should be included in the conversation, though. He's pitching at an elite level considering the number of shutouts and complete games he's twirled. The three shutouts easily lead the American League, and if Porcello manages to turn in more goose eggs and wins, it will be harder to ignore him as a serious candidate by season's end.

Certainly, there are other qualified candidates. Corey Kluber (13-6, 2.41 ERA) has turned in a fantastic year for the Cleveland Indians, and Felix Hernandez (13-4, 1.99 ERA) has done his part by looking superhuman much of 2014. Either could claim the prize in the end.

Still, there's something to be said about Porcello's career rejuvenation, and his complete game shutouts. Porcello has three, while most everyone else has only touched one, if that. Statistically, that could make a significant difference, especially if Porcello turns in another such gem in the weeks ahead.

Don't sleep on a few Tigers' starters late in the season as the Cy Young chase heats up, but specifically, don't sleep on Porcello, who's numbers are starting to compare favorably with everyone else.

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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