Porcello tries to get 'right' vs Angels duo
July, 16, 2012
By John Fisher | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Nick Wass
Rick Porcello will have to deal with young righties Mike Trout (right) and Mark Trumbo when the Tigers host the Angels on Monday Night Baseball.
He’ll be facing an Angels offense that has gotten nearly 75 percent of its plate appearances from right-handed hitters this season. That won’t do Porcello much good -- his platoon splits are nearly even across the board.
His defense may not be much help either -- his BABIP is a career-high .354 this season. The Tigers defense allows a .315 batting average on balls in play this season, fourth-worst in the majors.
As a result, his WHIP is at a career-high 1.57 this season, the third straight season it’s increased. The last thing the Tigers need is more baserunners in this game. They’ve allowed 73 stolen bases, tied for fourth-most in the big leagues, and the Angels have 70 steals, tied for the third-best total in baseball.
Two of the righties he’ll have to deal with are young All-Stars Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo. Those two are carrying an offense that’s fourth in the league in hitting. In 631 plate appearances, they’ve combined for 8.0 Wins Above Replacement. That’s nearly the same total the rest of the team’s offense has managed (8.2) in more than four times as many plate appearances.
Trout has been a true difference maker -- with him in the lineup, the Angels have a .606 winning percentage (40-26), but just a .391 mark (9-14) without him. They’re scoring a half-run more per game when Trout plays and hitting nearly 20 points higher as a team.
Trout has gotten his fair share of attention this season, but a young Tigers outfielder is putting up some similar numbers with much less fanfare.
Austin Jackson and Trout are in the top 10 among AL outfielders in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and runs scored.
Despite not being called up until the end of April, Trout leads all AL players in Wins Above Replacement and Jackson is fifth among position players.
Both players put pressure on opposing defenses, ranking 1-2 among AL outfielders in BABIP.
Jackson will be facing Ervin Santana, who has seen things go downhill since his one-hit shutout on June 16.
His last time out was the first time he started a game and didn’t record a strikeout since August 28, 2007, snapping a streak of 141 straight starts with a strikeout.
What’s behind Santana’s struggles this season? His groundball rates are improved and his linedrive rate has gone down, but the numbers he has the most control over are down -- a recipe for disaster.
He’s struggled against lefties, something opposing managers have tried to exploit. He’s had the platoon advantage -- facing a right-handed hitter -- in only 42 percent of his plate appearances, the lowest of his career and the sixth straight season that rate has declined.