Red Sox Predictions: Players in danger of being left off postseason roster
By Sean Penney
The Jekyll and Hyde routine is wearing thin for Porcello. Red Sox fans immediately labeled him a bust after he struggled during his first season in Boston, only for the right-hander to bounce back with a Cy Young campaign last year. Now his production has somehow been worse than it was in his dismal 2015 season.
Porcello took the loss in his last outing to become the first AL pitcher since 1990 to lose 17+ games for a team with a winning record. A year after leading the league in wins, Porcello is on pace to finish with the most losses. Some of it can be chalked up to a drop in run support, although Porcello clearly hasn’t pitched as well this season.
Last year’s surprise breakout was built on his impeccable control. Porcello dropped his walk rate to a career-low 1.3 BB/9 and led the majors with a 5.91 K/BB ratio. This year those numbers have drifted back toward his career norm and he’s getting hammered for it.
Instead of painting the corners, Porcello is either missing wide out of the strike zone or catching too much of the plate. The former scenario explains his uptick in walks, while the latter has resulted in a career-high 35 home runs. That figure tops his previous career-high in homers allowed by double digits and the season isn’t over yet!
The Red Sox will only need four starters in the postseason. Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz are the two locks to lead the rotation, while Doug Fister‘s recent success makes him worthy of the No. 3 spot. That means the final spot in the rotation boils down to Porcello or Eduardo Rodriguez. Perhaps the Red Sox will stick with Porcello simply because they want to avoid having three lefties in the rotation. It’s not as if E-Rod has been lighting it up lately either.
If Porcello is in the postseason rotation, it’s hard to feel confident with him on the mound. His postseason track record is limited but hasn’t been pretty. He was lit up for five runs over 4 1/3 innings in the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians last year. Overall he owns a 5.66 ERA in nine postseason appearances, including three starts.
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As is the case with each of the players we’ve reviewed, if Porcello makes the postseason roster it won’t be because he’s earned it. His inclusion would be due to a lack of options.