Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
This isn’t a name that fans will be excited about seeing in the rotation after a brutal first season in Boston, but Porcello’s contract gives the Red Sox little choice but to stick with him.
Porcello was one of the worst pitchers in baseball in the first half of the season, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of fans that had just watched the Red Sox hand him a 4-year, $82.5 million extension before waiting to see how he would adapt to his new environment in Boston.
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As poorly as last season went for Porcello, there’s still reasons to be optimistic about a bounce back campaign. For starters, his 4.13 FIP, while certainly not great, was still much better than his 4.92 ERA. This suggests that even in the worst season of his career he wasn’t quite as bad as it looked.
It’s also encouraging that Porcello was much better in the second half, posting a 3.53 ERA after the break. The right-hander was banished to the disabled list following a start against the Chicago White Sox on July 29 in which he lasted a mere two innings. The time off seemed to revive him, as he returned stronger than ever. Porcello shut out that same White Sox team over seven innings in his return to the mound nearly one month later and owned a 2.82 ERA the rest of the way.
Porcello will probably never live up to that outrageous contract, but he’s still only 26 years old and has a track record that shows he’s capable of being the pitcher we saw in the second half of last season. His 2014 season with the Detroit Tigers was basically at that same level, which is the pitcher the Red Sox thought they were trading for. There’s no reason to think he can’t get back to being that same guy again this year.
Next: Wade Miley