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August 8, 2014

What You Need to Know

August 8, 2014

by Sam Miller, Daniel Rathman, Andrew Koo and Morris Greenberg


The Thursday Takeaway
Not much separates the Tigers, A’s, and Angels this year, so every little advantage might help in October. With an 83 percent chance of winning its division entering play Thursday, one edge the Tigers will likely have is a relatively stress-free march from here to October. While the A’s (60 percent division odds) and the Angels (39 percent) will be beating each other into a pulp, the Tigers should be able to use the final two months to, for instance, rest Miguel Cabrera, as they did Thursday for just the second time all season. And they can start to think seriously about such October questions as: Would we really move Justin Verlander to the bullpen to make room for Rick Porcello?

Verlander pitched Wednesday and had one of his finest starts of the year, going seven innings while allowing two runs, striking out five, and walking one. Porcello, facing the same club in the same inhospitable pitching environment, bettered him Thursday, going seven innings while allowing one run, striking out five, and walking nobody. The effort lowered his season ERA to 3.09 and improved his team-best ERA+.

The case for Verlander will be that he’s an Ace with a 72-point "A," that he came on strong last year and dominated in the postseason, that he has a career of excellence instead of a single season. But how far back to do we have to go to make the case based on recent results?

One month?

  • Porcello: 1.75 ERA, 2.37 FIP
  • Verlander: 4.17 ERA, 4.24 FIP

Two months?

  • Porcello: 2.55 ERA, 3.17 FIP
  • Verlander: 5.02 ERA, 4.26 FIP

The season?

  • Porcello: 3.09 ERA, 3.60 FIP
  • Verlander: 4.57 ERA, 4.08 FIP

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