Rick Porcello pitched 7 strong innings in a rare good start that pleasantly surprised me. The Red Sox righty out-dueled one of baseball’s best young talents last night in Chris Sale behind his strong outing and some late help from Travis Shaw, who hit a 2-run home run in the 8th inning to seal the deal. Porcello struck out 5, while walking none in his 7 innings on Wednesday, thus earning his first win since July.
As to where this performance came from, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe Rick Porcello missing time helped him work through his kinks, or maybe it was just the familiarity of pitching at US Cellular Field as a member of the Detroit Tigers that made it easier for him to settle for in. Personally, I hope it’s the former, because it means Rick Porcello has turned a corner during his disappointing first season with the team. That would be ideal after the Red Sox traded for him last off-season, then signed him to a 4-year/$82 million extension in April before he even threw a pitch.
When the news came out that the team extended him, I was initially a fan of the deal, but ate my words after he posted a 5-11 record and an ERA up near 6 before he was sidelined these past few weeks.
Maybe he’ll end up emulating John Lackey, who was very disappointing for the first 2 seasons of the team, was sidelined for all of 2012 after Tommy John surgery before bouncing back in 2013 and 2014 and becoming the guy we thought we signed in 2010. At least until he was traded at the 2014 trade deadline last season. I hope Porcello is going to follow a similar path, albeit a little faster than Lackey, because Porcello is better than he’s shown in a Red Sox uniform. This season is far from being all on him, but he has certainly played his part in the struggles of the 2015 Red Sox.
Maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part, but I really want Porcello to succeed here and go back to the guy he was in Detroit. He’s got a ways to go, but it starts with a single step, and he took that step last night.