Rick Porcello wasn't an All-Star lock

Tiger starter could still make Midsummer Classic


The only thing worse than Rick Porcello's performance Sunday, the night he found out he didn't make the All-Star team, was the reaction from Tigers' fans.

Yes, many fans thought Porcello was a shoo-in for the Mid-Summer classic next Tuesday in Minnesota.

After all, coming into Sunday night's start against the Tampa Bay Rays, Porcello was 11-4 with a 3.12 ERA and had back-to-back complete game wins in his two previous starts.

But when the teams were announced on Sunday night, Porcello was left off the American League squad.

As expected, fans - both on the radio and at the ballpark - were not happy that Porcello, who entered Sunday with 25 1/3 scoreless innings streak, wasn't selected by other players from around the league.

Porcello's teammates naturally agreed with fans that he had earned a spot on the 2014 team.

"All season, he's been our most consistent starting pitcher,'' said right fielder Torii Hunter. "He deserves it more than anybody on this ballclub."

And while it's a disappointment for many fans – they always want to see as many of their players make the team – this isn't the travesty most would want to believe.

Porcell, indeed, is having a breakthrough season. But many others have also pitched well and weren't rewarded.

Chicago's Chris Sale, one of the best pitchers in the AL, was left off the team. If he had enough innings to qualify for the ERA race, Sale would be second. He's also 8-1 this season.

Angels' starter Garrett Richards is 10-2 with a 2.71 ERA. He's in his fourth big league season and having a breakout year as well.

It's not a slight of Porcello. It happens to a lot of guys trying to get their first nod as an All-Star.

There are so many talented players and everybody can't go. There will always be a few who are worthy and don't make it.

Some may even argue that Porcello is more deserving than Scherzer, who made the team along with Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.

Sure, Scherzer isn't having the Cy Young season he had in 2013, but he does have a 10-3 record with a 3.47 ERA.

It's was only natural that the reigning AL Cy Young winner gets the nod, especially after 10 wins before the break.

"We were both on the fringe," Scherzer said about Porcello. "We were crossing our fingers, both."

Besides, Porcello can still make the team in one of two ways.

AL manager John Farrell could select Porcello as a replacement for an All-Star pitcher unable to play Tuesday.

Or, fans could vote Porcello onto the roster with the MLB's Last Vote promotion. Fans have until 4pm Thursday to vote at MLB.com or by text.

All those angry callers on sports-talk radio have a chance to help their hometown hero get on the team.

That's how Brandon Inge made the team in 2006.

As for Porcello, he took it in stride. "There are a lot of good pitchers out there," he said after losing to the Rays. "Obviously, it'd be awesome to be able to go, but at the same time, it doesn't take anything away from how well I feel like I've pitched in the first half. I'm proud of the work I've done."

That case for Porcello, however, didn't look strong after he suffered a terrible outing. In Tampa Bay's 7-3 win, the Rays had three runs after the first three batters. In all, Porcello allowed seven earned runs on 11 hits as MLB America watched the national TV broadcast of the game.

After that performance, Porcello is now 11-5 with a 3.53 ERA. His stats took a beating at the wrong time.

Nonetheless, it's not impossible for his dream to come true. It's just that he needs help now from the fans.