Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
In this particular case, I see Jim Leyland's comments doing nothing more than stating the obvious. The Tigers have 72 games left, and with Porcello starting on Tuesday, that means he'll get one of the two starts until there are 70 games left. Simple math, 70 games divided by five starters is 14 starts. That leaves Porcello with 15 starts left. Seems like it's insightful, but not really. And so long as they continue to limit his innings/pitch counts in the manner that they have so far, then it's a perfectly reasonable amount to expect him to pitch. The only real question comes down to what the Tigers plan to do when the playoffs roll around. Is the 15 starts for the regular season, or is it all together? If it's total, what happens if the Tigers make the playoffs? Do they shelve their number three starter? Do they start spacing him out in September to keep him under the magical number '15'? That's the real question that needs to be answered about Rick Porcello and his final two-plus months in 2009.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
Honestly, I don't make much of Leyland's comments. He says a lot of things in the course of a season, and this is just another in that lot. If you look at the schedule, without altering any standard rotations, Porcello is slated to make either 14 or 15 starts the rest of the way. Leyland didn't do anything revolutionary here, he simply counted how many starts Porcello could get before the end of the season, and stated it in front of the media. Does it really tell us anything? No. The only thing it indicates is that they plan to run him out there in the rotation for the remainder of the year; and provided they maintain tight pitch counts on him, I don't see this as a bad thing. The real question, which Leyland most certainly won't entertain in the short term, is what do they do with Porcello is the playoffs are imminent, or actually upon us? That's a much tougher question, and it is much tougher this time around than deciding how to handle Justin Verlander in 2006.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
Honestly, I don't put too much stock into Jim Leyland's statement on Rick Porcello making 15 starts and then shutting him down. It goes without saying that the Tigers will try to limit his workload during the remainder of the regular season, but what happens if the Tigers find themselves in the playoffs? Would the Tigers elect to leave Porcello off of the playoff roster and go with someone else, particularly when they don't have many alternatives? Obviously, this could also change if Armando Galarraga and Luke French solidify the rotation or if a trade for a starter is made, but as of now, Porcello is the Tigers' best choice for their No. 3 spot. This could all be a moot point should the Tigers falter in the second half and fall out of contention, but I find it difficult to believe that the Tigers would ignore what could be their best option as a third starter in a playoff series if it came to that.
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