2016 Cy Young Winner Rick Porcello hasn’t been lights out. Why?
When Rick Porcello hauled in his first major personal accolade, some thought it was a fluke. Porcello had never been more than a solid three in the rotation. Suddenly in his second year in Boston, RP is the top producer even over David Price who was supposed to be the answer. Not so fast. Porcello posted a 22-4 record with a 3.15 ERA adding 189 strike outs in 223 innings. So it begs the question. Where the heck is 2016 Rick Porcello?
The Red Sox this past off season acquired Chris Sale who, is no joke in the pitching world. He’s going to be the one that people look forward to watching all season long. Of course they’ll be happier to watch him pitch even more if he can get a little run support. After posting two quality starts and a 1 – 0 record, Porcello couldn’t manage to get out of the 5th for the first time since July 29th 2015. Porcello only lasted 2 innings allowing six runs, five earned on 10 hits walking one and striking out two. In just those 2+ innings he threw 68 pitches. While there is still a slight degree of adjustment I didn’t think it would take this much time. Porcello had gone 43 straight starts going at least the 5 innings.
This season he’s gotten two quality starts under his belt. So far, there are two worrisome stats that I think a few people have also noticed. His ERA is flat out awful. A 7.56 ERA is more than twice what it was last year. Only thing I can say is thank goodness it isn’t three times as bad, then we’d really have a problem. The other scary stat? Home runs. Porcello has let five leave the stadium in three games. Yes it’s a loaded stat since four of those left in his last appearance. Still five jacks in three appearances is ugly. No point it taking the sample and comparing it to last season. If we did that he’s on pace to allow 55 home runs. As Bryce Harper would say, “that’s a clown question.” In this case, a clown response.
If what we’ve seen is any indication of what to expect for this season, thank goodness we got Sale. Price is injured and Porcello hasn’t been himself. In 2016, Porcello allowed 5 runs in three games and two of those games he only allowed four earned. The last time Porcello allowed 8 runs? April 19th 2015. Coincidentally his 3rd start a member of the Red Sox. Ironically enough, the last time he pitched worse and allowed more than 8 runs was against the Sox on September 4th 2013 when he was still a member of the Tigers. The Sox went on to have a field day scoring 20 runs that game. Porcello will bounce back and has a favorable match-up his next time out. He’ll face off against Francisco Liriano and the under performing Blue Jays in Toronto.
The Sox are by no means out of it right now. At 5 – 5 there are some warning lights going off but it’s not as bad as the Jays who don’t seem to know what’s going on. A major league team playing at AAA level. No team has ever started 1 – 9 and made the post season so at the very least the Sox have one theoretical team less to worry about in the AL East. With 152 games left in the season, there’s tons of baseball left and plenty of time for Porcello to fix whatever isn’t working and make the right adjustments. He’ll look to make another run at another piece of hardware.
Photo Credit – Maddie Meyer – Getty Images