Chris Sale is the undisputed ace on this Red Sox team. David Price has been dubbed by many as the “X-factor” for the Sox, as his performance could very well dictate how far the team goes this postseason.
Meanwhile, Rick Porcello is something of a forgotten man in the Boston rotation. He’s two years removed from winning the American League Cy Young award, and one year removed from a season in which he’d like to forget (Porcello was 11-17 with a 4.65 ERA in 2017).
As a Red Sox fan, you’re not frightened when he’s on the mound, but you’re not wholly confident either. The perfectly average Porcello, though, somehow leads this incredible 2018 Sox team in wins with 13. His 13-4 record is the third best mark by a starting pitching in big leagues – trailing only Washington’s Max Scherzer and the Yankees’ Luis Severino.
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“We’re always asking him to pitch deep into these games when we’re short in the bullpen,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said earlier this season of Porcello. “I feel comfortable when he’s on the mound. One thing about Rick is that he’ll always compete.”
Now at the age of 29, Red Sox fans are starting to understand what to expect from the Morristown, New Jersey native every time he takes the mound. There will be good outings, there will be some ugly outings – but the bottom line is grabbing a win. And no Red Sox pitcher has won as much as Porcello over these past three years.
Thanks greatly to a sparkling 22-4 record in 2016, Porcello is 46-25 in the past three seasons.
Maybe he is simply better friends with Lady Luck than, say, Sale – but Porcello has nearly guaranteed a Sox victory every time he’s stepped on the rubber since mid-June. Over the past five weeks, the Sox are 6-1 when Porcello gets the start.
He’s only had one real atrocious outing this season – a dud against the Blue Jays at Fenway on July 13 in which he allowed eight earned runs in a mere 2.0 innings of work. So he doesn’t have to be great to get the Sox a win. Four runs or less, and the Red Sox’ terrific offense should typically be able to pick up the slack.
Porcello could even eventually contribute to Sox’ terrific offense if the team reaches the World Series. The righty gave people a taste of his hitting skills on July 2 against Washington when he belted a three-run double off of Scherzer, arguably the top pitcher in the game.
“We were excited for sure, but I think when he hit it into the gap we weren’t really sure what was going on,” Mookie Betts said of Porcello’s key hit against the Nationals. “Then it was pure excitement when we realized what happened.”