MINNEAPOLIS -- Rick Porcello is 20 years old. Like a lot of 20-year-olds, people often want to ask him for ID. Except in Porcello's case it's because they assume he is older.
When Porcello takes the Metrodome mound in a one-game playoff for the American League Central title today, he will do so with a 20-year-old's dreams and a 40-year-old's disposition. He might be great. He might be lousy. But he will not be nervous.
"To tell you the truth, I don't think 'nervous' is in his vocabulary," Porcello's brother Zach said Monday. "I've seen him jacked up and raring to go, but I don't think I've ever seen him nervous."
OK, sure. That's his brother talking. But Porcello's stats say the same thing. Since Aug. 1, his ERAis 3.19. That is better than Justin Verlander's ERA for the season -- and Verlander has been one of the best pitchers in the AL.
Rookies are not supposed to get better late in their first season -- especially 20-year-old rookies, and especially 20-year-old rookie pitchers. Porcello is supposed to have a dead arm and a spinning head. The league should have figured him out by now. Instead, he has figured out everybody else.