The Red Sox appear to have it all. Except an ace.
John Farrell’s team has power, speed and enough starting outfielders for three teams, but it lacks a stopper in the post Jon Lester era. The Sox hope the gifted but perpetually fragile Clay Buchholz can somehow stay healthy for an entire season or one of their other starters can step up. It wouldn’t be surprising if Rick Porcello was the one who reached another echelon.
Porcello, who was overshadowed at times by flamethrower Max Scherzer while both were in Detroit, had a very productive season in 2014. Porcello finished with 15 wins, a 3.43 ERA with a 1.231 WHIP.
“I know what I’m capable of,” Porcello said in Port St. Lucie, Florida. “I’d like to reach that potential with this team. We’re loaded with talent. I just want to do my part and I think we’ll win since we have so many bats.”
Porcello, 26, has been solid so far this spring. He didn’t give up an earned run in three
quick innings against the Mets earlier this March.
“I feel really strong right now,” Porcello said. “I’m ahead of where I was at this point last year and that’s a good thing.”
The big righthander is an innings eater. Porcello, who threw for 204 innings in 2014, has lowered his hit rate and walk rate each of the last two seasons. Porcello, who doesn’t possess a blazing fastball does own an assortment of pitches. He added an effective cutter to complement a slider, a sinker and a good curveball, which has kept hitters off balance.
“I try to keep them guessing,” Porcello said. “I’ve gotten better and better with the more experience I have. I made some strides last season and I’m hoping to take it to another level this season. I’m excited about being with this team. We’re going to score a lot of runs and I think we have some really good pitchers here. With that combination, we’re going to win a lot of games.”
Porcello can add a great deal to Boston’s starting staff if he approximates his best performances from 2014. The Central Jersey native, who grew up a Mets fan, had three complete game shutouts last season, which screams “potential ace.”
“I just want to put up zeroes,” Porcello said. “If I pitch to my capability, we’ll win a lot of games.”