Daily Notes: A Brief Review of Rick Porcello’s Tuesday Start

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. Brief Review: Rick Porcello’s Tuesday Start
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Brief Review: Rick Porcello’s Tuesday Start
Detroit right-hander Rick Porcello, known typically for his power sinker and attendant ground-ball rate, recorded numerous career bests against Pittsburgh on Tuesday night with 11 strikeouts, a 1.04 single-game xFIP, and a 4.03 RE24 (which metric measures runs added relative to the 24 base/out states and is useful for measuring single-game performances by hitters or pitchers). What follows is a brief review of that second start.

Porcello’s Results
As noted, Porcello was quite effective on Tuesday. Overall, he posted the lowest single-game xFIP among all of Tuesday’s 26 starting pitchers and second-highest single-game WAR. Here was his line on the night (box): 8.0 IP, 27 TBF, 11 K, 1 BB, 11 GB on 15 batted-balls (73.3%), 0 HR, 3 H, 0 R.

Porcello’s Pitches
Here’s a PITCHf/x chart of what pitches Porcello threw on Tuesday:


Porcello’s Pitches, Relative to Career Rates
Here’s a table comparing Porcello’s pitch mix on Tuesday to his previous established career rates (the latter care of Brooks Baseball):

  Career Tuesday Diff
Four-Seam 18% 18% 0 pp
Sinker 51% 38% -13 pp
Slider 15% 6% -9 pp
Curve 4% 19% +15 pp
Changeup 12% 18% +6 pp

What One Might Conclude
Observing the table above, and noting the difference primarily in sliders (Porcello’s main breaking pitch in the past) thrown relative to curveballs (Porcello’s main breaking pitch on Tuesday), one might conclude that it’s the curve which contributed most directly to his success last night.

While that is a lot to extract from one start, there are real indications — and not merely PITCHf/x classification changes — which demonstrate that Porcello has more or less replaced his slider with his curveball as his main breaking ball. Even more telling, of course, is that Porcello has said as much on a number of occasions this spring. Meanwhile, there are other real indications that Porcello has reached a new level of performance this year so far.

Action Footage: Porcello’s Slider
Here’s a slider by Porcello from the second inning on Tuesday night to Gaby Sanchez:

Porcello Sanchez SL

Action Footage: Porcello’s Curveball
Here’s a curve Porcello threw Sanchez on the pitch directly before that, for a strike looking:

Porcello Sanchez 1

Action Footage: Porcello’s Curveball, Again
Here’s another of Porcello’s curveballs, also from the second inning, in this case (a) in slow motion and (b) for a swinging strikeout versus Pedro Alvarez:

Porcello ALvarez

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Washington at Baltimore | 19:05 ET
Jordan Zimmermann (73.2 IP, 89 xFIP-, 1.9 WAR) faces Chris Tillman (58.2 IP, 101 xFIP-, 0.5 WAR). The former is currently third among all pitchers by WAR calculated using run allowed (as opposed to FIP).

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Washington Radio.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 5.3.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.

Away SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
John Danks* CHA 6 0 4 5 2 CHN Scott Feldman 14:20
John Lackey BOS 8 7 5 1 3 PHI Kyle Kendrick 19:05
Bronson Arroyo CIN 4 6 6 9 7 CLE Justin Masterson 19:05
Anibal Sanchez DET 10 7 9 7 9 PIT A.J. Burnett 19:05
Jeremy Hefner NYN 3 6 4 5 4 NYA David Phelps 19:05
Jor. Zimmermann WAS 9 2 6 9 4 BAL Chris Tillman 19:05
Rob. Hernandez TB 6 7 6 1 8 MIA Tom Koehler* 19:10
Esmil Rogers* TOR 3 6 5 9 4 ATL Kris Medlen 19:10
Bran. McCarthy AZ 6 4 6 4 6 TEX Justin Grimm 20:05
Marco Estrada MIL 6 5 5 2 5 MIN Samuel Deduno* 20:10
Luis Mendoza KC 3 6 5 2 7 STL Lance Lynn 20:15
Erik Bedard HOU 0 4 4 7 6 COL Tyler Chatwood 20:40
Chris Capuano LAN 5 2 5 5 7 LAA Jered Weaver* 22:05
Joe Saunders SEA 1 6 3 7 2 SD Eric Stults 22:10
Tommy Milone OAK 5 6 6 4 7 SF Tim Lincecum 22:15

To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.

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