The Tigers aren’t talking about trading Rick Porcello to the Twins, but they are starting to think that he might get there in a couple weeks as an All-Star.
Porcello is 11-4, and as misleading as that number can be, he’s also thrown back-to-back shutouts as part of a 25 1/3 inning scoreless streak.
"I think Rick’s an All-Star," Ausmus said. "I don’t know what the players will do about him, because once it gets to the managers, it is a lot tougher, but he has to be a candidate. I know everyone here would love to see him go."
In a rotation where he was expected to be a clear No. 4 pitcher, he’s been much better than that. He’s sixth in the American League in WAR, seventh in WHIP and tied for first in wins and shutouts. In his last two starts, he became the first Tigers pitcher to throw back-to-back shutouts since Jack Morris in 1986.
Porcello’s biggest obstacle might be two of his better-known teammates. Max Scherzer, the defending Cy Young winner, is 9-3 and striking out 10.7 batters per nine innings, while Anibal Sanchez is making a run at a second straight American League ERA title. In the players’ vote, Porcello would have to avoid splitting the votes with Scherzer and Sanchez.
He won’t start again until after the teams are announced, and he admits he hasn’t been able to keep it out of his mind.
"Obviously, I would love to go," he said. "That would be a real honor for me, but it would also be an honor for my defense. Sinkerballers don’t get very far without a good defense."