One of the best part about the Pirates' latest hot streak is that they haven't lost two games in a row since May 7-8. In fact, since losing their first two series of the season, the Pirates have only had back-to-back losses three times. When you're a Pirate fan waiting for the other shoe to drop, there's something awful comforting about nipping losing streaks in the bud before they get going.
Yesterday's very frustrating loss brings us to a pretty serious threat to the Pirates' streak of not losing two games in a row. That's not because the Pirates won't be able to do anything against Rick Porcello, but because I don't have a good feeling about Jeanmar Gomez's chances against the Tigers' incredible lineup. Gomez, like Francisco Liriano, spent his entire career up to this point in the AL Central. Gomez has pitched against the Tigers about as much as he's pitched against anyone to this point in his career except the Twins and Royals, and it has not gone well. If you, like me, have been viewing Gomez's success with a wary eye (his ERA is 2.75, his FIP is 4.96, and his xFIP is 4.26), tonight seems like a logical night for the happy fun times to end with him.
The good news is that Porcello hasn't been very good this year. He's already served up seven dingers in 43 innings, which is pretty horrifying for a sinkerballer. Even if you start counting from the beginning of May (which means you drop his nightmarish 9-runs-in-less-than-an-inning start against the Angels) he's got a 4.18 ERA, four homers allowed in 23 innings, and he served up ten hits and five runs in his last start. The bad news here is that a lot of his peripherals look the same from last year to this year to me except for his HR/FB ratio. That could mean that he's about to settle in and look like the Rick Porcello of the past. The thing is, the Rick Porcello of the past wasn't really a super-great pitcher, either. The point is that the Pirates are going to need to score some runs to back Gomez up tonight, and Porcello is probably the best pitcher in the Tiger rotation to do that against.
First pitch tonight is at 7:08. The weather map looks ugly, but they've got to get this game played and it needs to be played tonight since the series is headed back to Pittsburgh tomorrow and the Tigers aren't scheduled to be in Detroit again this year. This could be a long evening.