Red Sox: Rick Porcello returns to Comerica Park
Rick Porcello returns to Detroit, the city he spent his first six big league seasons in, as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
Who says you can’t go home again?
Fine, so Rick Porcello isn’t originally from Detroit, but the native of Morristown, NJ may feel like this weekend is a homecoming when he returns to the city where is big league career was born. The 27-year old spent the first six seasons of his career pitching for the Detroit Tigers prior to the trade that brought him to the Boston Red Sox last year. Now he returns to Comerica Park for the first time in a visitors uniform.
Porcello has been dominant at home this season, producing a perfect 12-0 record and an impressive 2.96 ERA in 13 starts at Fenway Park. He hasn’t been quite that effective on the road, but has still managed a respectable 4-3 record and 3.70 ERA in 11 starts.
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Perhaps his familiarity with Comerica will result in a performance similar to what he’s been doing at Fenway all year.
In 2014, his last season with the Tigers, Porcello produced career bests in innings (204.2), wins (15), ERA (3.43), WHIP (1.23) and WAR (4.0). It was those numbers that convinced former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington to acquire him and immediately lavish him with a lucrative extension that paid him an ace-caliber salary.
His first season in Boston proved to be a massive disappointment, as Porcello went 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. Despite a strong finish following a late August return from the disabled list, Red Sox Nation was quick to slap the bust label on Porcello.
With a year under his belt to get comfortable in his new environment, Porcello is turning things around to show why the Red Sox made a wish decision to bet on him. He has already set a career high with 16 wins, while adding another tonight in his old stomping grounds would tie him for the major league lead. He’s also on pace to set the best marks of his career in ERA, WHIP, K/BB and WAR.
"“I think in Rick’s case, last year, I think he tried to do things that really wasn’t him,” Dave Dombrowski, the current Red Sox president of baseball operations who traded Porcello to Boston while he was still running the ship in Detroit, told WEEI’s Rob Bradford. “He tried to be a different type of pitcher, probably tried to live up to the dollars that were spent on him rather than just settle in and be the type of guy he had been in his career and build on that. I think that’s what he’s doing this year.”"
Expectations were significantly lower entering Year 2 in Boston, but that may be part of what has helped him thrive. Last year began with uncertainty over who would fill the coveted ace role to anchor the rotation, but the Red Sox spent enough on David Price last winter to make Porcello look like a bargain in comparison. Then Steven Wright unexpectedly went from afterthought to All-Star in the first half of the season. That left a lot fewer eyes focused on Porcello, who has quietly outperformed everyone else on this staff.
A year ago Red Sox fans bemoaned the fact that they weren’t seeing the version of Porcello they had seen pitch for the Tigers the previous season. Now when he returns to pitch in Detroit for the first time in a Red Sox uniform, he’s even better than the pitcher he was when he left.