A 14-game winner as a 20-year-old rookie in 2009, Porcello struggled at the outset of last season and was eventually demoted to the minors before finishing with 10 wins. Porcello appears to be off to another slow start this year, as he has dropped his first two starts, allowing five runs and nine hits in five innings of each contest.
"I don't think my mix of pitches was [executed] very well, and then at times when I needed to make some pitches and locate some fastballs, I didn't do it quite well enough," Porcello said. "It's something I have to bear down on and focus on. It's inexcusable to not make the right pitch selection that I need to make to get those guys out."
Porcello has also struggled against the A's, posting a 1-3 mark to go along with a 5.32 ERA in four starts.
Detroit can only hope that Porcello gives it the type of performance that Phil Coke did in the series opener. Coke tossed seven scoreless innings and Ramon Santiago went 2-for-3 with an RBI to help the Tigers to a 3-0 win.
Coke (1-2) gave up just three hits to go with two strikeouts and two walks for the Tigers, who have won three in a row since a three-game skid. Jose Valverde pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save.
Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez was just as good as Coke, but did not get the support, as he tossed six scoreless frames to lower his earned run average to 0.47 on the year. Tyson Ross (1-1) gave up three runs -- two earned -- on two hits over one-plus innings to take the loss.
Oakland's best chance to score came in the first inning. Daric Barton walked and Conor Jackson singled to put men on first and second with one out. Barton moved to third when Josh Willingham popped out. Coke kept the A's off the board, though, by getting Hideki Matsui to ground out.
Oakland will hand the ball to righty Brandon McCarthy, who was terrific in beating the Minnesota Twins his last time out. McCarthy surrendered just two runs and nine hits in 7 1/3 frames on Sunday to improve to 1-1 on the year, while lowering his ERA to 3.52. He also did not walk a batter in the win and has issued just one free pass in 15 1/3 innings this season.
"Any time I go out there, [command] has got to be one of my strong points," McCarthy said. "I have to be able to hit my spots and move the ball around. I did a pretty good job of that today and was able to stay consistent."
McCarthy has faced the Tigers 12 times (five starts) and is 1-3 against them with a 4.83 ERA.
Detroit split its six meetings with the A's last season.
Tonight's Tigers lineup:
1. Will Rhymes, 2B
2. Ryan Raburn, LF
3. Brennan Boesch, RF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Victor Martinez, DH
6. Don Kelly, CF
7. Brandon Inge, 3B
8. Alex Avila, C
9. Ramon Santiago, SS
Rick Porcello on the bump.