Gamescape: Porcello's dominant performance
Right-hander's second straight shutout marked by consistency, efficiency
A survey of Rick Porcello's historic performance in Tuesday night's 3-0 win over the A's, with a closer look at the insets to the big picture -- streaks, trends and subplots below the surface.
And the streak goes on
Porcello had the A's -- the team with the best record in baseball -- completely overwhelmed. He made his second consecutive shutout look effortless, breezing through the Oakland lineup and allowing only four hits on 95 pitches.
Dating back to the seventh inning against the Twins on June 15, Porcello has now gone 25 1/3 innings without allowing a run to score.
Porcello is the first Tigers pitcher since Jack Morris in 1986 to throw consecutive shutouts. Morris threw three straight from July 9-18, 1986.
Porcello an All-Star?
With his recent success, including the 25-inning scoreless streak, Porcello has built a strong case to join the American League's pitching staff in the All-Star Game on July 15 at Target Field.
The right-hander's outing Tuesday night was actually his last chance to impress both the players, who vote for the All-Star arms, and Red Sox skipper John Farrell, who will manage the AL. Porcello will pitch Sunday against the Rays on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, but the game will follow the Taco Bell All-Star Game Selection Show at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
"It's a huge honor to play in the All-Star Game," Porcello said when asked what that opportunity would mean to him. "It's the best players around the league every year that get to play during the All-Star break, so obviously I'd be extremely fortunate to get that opportunity, and I'd be humbled by it."
Porcello is tied with Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka for the most wins in baseball with 11. His WHIP of 1.13 is the eighth best in the AL among qualified pitchers.
Too efficient for strikeouts
Porcello's 95 pitches were the fewest by a Tigers starter in a complete game since Armando Galarraga used only 88 to come just shy of a perfect game on June 2, 2010, against the Indians.
Porcello went without a strikeout for the first time in over a year, which contributed to the low pitch count.
"I would've liked to have recorded one strikeout, but I'll take the game I had tonight over anything," Porcello said.
It's only the second time since 2002 that a pitcher has managed a shutout without notching a strikeout. Porcello also didn't issue a single walk, making him the first pitcher since Jeff Ballard on Aug. 21, 1989 to throw a shutout without either a strikeout or walk.
Just two hours and 13 minutes elapsed between the time of first pitch Tuesday night and Porcello retiring Brandon Moss for the third out of the ninth inning.
That's the quickest game the Tigers have played this season, though there have been nine faster games around baseball this season. The quickest contest so far was two hours and three minutes on June 13 between St. Louis and Washington.
Only three times last season did Detroit play a game in less than two hours and 13 minutes.
Sinkerballer doing what he does best
Porcello's ability to induce groundouts via his sinker was crucial to his success vs. the A's. Seventeen of the 27 outs came on the ground.
"If his sinker's down, that's what's going to happen. That's when he's good," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
Porcello hasn't recorded that many groundouts in a single game since Aug. 12, 2012, when he also retired 17 in that fashion. His career high for groundouts in a game is 18, set on May 1, 2012, against the Royals.
According to Fangraphs.com, Porcello's ground-ball percentage on the year is 46.4.
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.