Red Sox: Rick Porcello is finding form at the right time
It’s been a rough season for Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello, but the former Cy Young Award winner is finding form at the right time for his team.
Currently leading the American League in losses with 14, Boston Red Sox starter Rick Porcello has also given up 186 hits, the most among AL pitchers this season.
Whilst it’s certainly been a rough season for the former first-round pick, recently Porcello has started to show some flashes of the pitcher he was last season; displaying the kind of form that could help the Red Sox as they head towards the final stages of the season.
Having won his last four starts, including the series finale against the New York Yankees on Sunday afternoon, Porcello has helped the Red Sox gain a five game lead at the top of the AL East.
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Much of the right-hander’s recent improvements have come from his reduction in the number of runs allowed. Porcello has allowed 82 earned runs this season, the fifth highest in the league. However, in his past four outings, only eleven earned runs have crossed the plate, an average of 2.75 per game. Porcello has also enjoyed record-breaking success during his recent spell of good form, becoming only the fourth hurler in Red Sox history to pitch an immaculate inning.
Contrary to the struggles Porcello has endured this season, two things have remained consistent from last season. Firstly, Porcello has maintained a strong strikeout-to-walk ratio and ranks in the top five in the league along with fellow Red Sox ace, Chris Sale. Averaging 4.257 this season, Porcello is still significantly below his 5.906 average of 2016, but his ability to limit walks whilst striking out batters has been a constant area of strength this year.
Secondly, despite a setback year, Porcello has continued to eat innings and carry Boston deep in games. In his 26 starts, Porcello has pitched fewer than six innings only twice this season. This could prove vital as the Red Sox head towards the back-end of the season, as the need to keep the bullpen fresh is important to achieve success.
One of Porcello’s main issues that still needs attention has been his susceptibility to the long ball this season. Having given up 29 already this season, Porcello has allowed a career-high number of home runs, with well over a month of the regular season still to play. Additionally, the nine-year veteran also ranks 11th worst in the majors for home runs allowed per nine innings, with an average of 1.59. However, if Porcello can begin to limit this number, he could once again become a solid option in the Red Sox rotation.
Next: Sale reaches 250 strikeouts
Whilst this is certainly a season to forget for Porcello, recent improvements suggest that the New Jersey native may yet have an important role to play in helping Boston enjoy success come September.