Can anyone blame the new 2016 A.L. Cy Young Award winner? Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello doesn’t want his success to seem like a fluke in 2017.
Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reported that, while four or five Red Sox starters will be playing in the tournament, Porcello will not join them: “Speaking on the Dale, Holley & Thornton Show Thursday afternoon, Porcello explained why he has no intention to play for Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.”
Porcello stated that “the one thing that really worked for me last year was taking spring training extremely slow and just focusing on my delivery and not focusing on the results and really just concentrating on some little things that take some time to develop. He added, “My loyalty is first and foremost to the Boston Red Sox and that’s kind of my focus.”
If Porcello would have been playing for Team USA, the tournament for him would start March 9th and could end with the championship being held on March 22nd.
So, Bostonians, what do you think of the New Jersey native’s choice to put patriotism aside to don Red Sox colors?
The big righty thinks that he has the tonic solution for what was ailing him in 2015? Why would Red Sox Nation argue with any of it? Porcello pitched in 28 games, posting a record of 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA. He had 149 strikeouts to 38 walks and 25 home runs allowed. In 2016, Porcello went an astounding 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA. He did allow almost the same amount of home runs (23) and walks (32); however, Porcello also struck out 189 batters, 40 more than last season, and pitched for 223 innings. It was the most frames in one season for his eight-year career.
Some fans would argue that other tournaments, such as the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, have worked great as preseason tuneups. The action can be intense, and that is exactly what Porcello is trying to avoid. Why throw Porcello to the wolves a month earlier than his body is expecting?
Some fans would argue that it is everyone’s duty as a citizen of their country to represent the colors whenever they are asked. As noble as that sounds, the WBC is not considered to be on the same level of importance as the World Series in the baseball universe. Until the WBC raises its status in the world, it will be called a cute cash-grab compared to Major League Baseball’s postseason tournament.
If the situation were different, Porcello may wear the red, white, and blue proudly in the WBC. It’s not different, though. He doesn’t know how his body would react to the WBC, but he does know the proper routine that his body is familiar with when preparing for Red Sox spring training. Why anyone would ask him to do anything otherwise is ludicrous, even if it means passing on fighting for his country. Porcello is looking out for his entire nation in 2017, and its name starts with Red Sox.