Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello’s worth to the team at this stage of this year is vital, as he brings many aspects to Boston’s pitching which are important.
Rick Porcello has been able to translate his terrific season into a great postseason, thus far. The right-handed pitcher has featured three times for the Boston Red Sox, two of which have come out of the bullpen.
The 2016 AL Cy Young award winner had one of the better years you can have. He ended the season 17-7 with a 4.26 ERA in thirty-three starts, only bettered by his incredible 2016 season.
Porcello had fourteen postseason appearances prior to this year, nine of which came in relief. Therefore, he is used to being called out of the pen when needed most. His playoff experience in Detroit saw him being used very effectively as a relief pitcher, and this has translated here in Boston.
After his nightmare start in the 2016 ALDS against Cleveland, which saw him give up five earned runs and three homers over 4 1/3 innings, there have been questions. He also started once and came into another in relief during the 2017 ALDS against Houston with a 4.50 ERA, overall.
But, Porcello has been used best from the relief role on numerous occasions, when it matters most. His dominant self and his ability to heat up as a pitcher can be scary for opposing lineups – like it’s been this year.
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He came into Game 1 of the ALDS against the New York Yankees in the eighth inning, helping set up Craig Kimbrel for the four-out save. He allowed just the one hit here, in a bit spot. Porcello was able to recover in time for the Game 4 start he was scheduled for in Yankee stadium. With the series tilting in Boston’s favor, Porcello helped the Red Sox clinch the series with a dominant outing, resulting in his first postseason win. The fiery pitcher completed five innings, giving up only four hits and giving up one earned run, and not walking any batters – a commodity for Porcello.
The inning he pitched in Game 2 of the ALCS to help the Sox even up the series against Houston, was an inning you couldn’t really ask more for. His presence in the Red Sox bullpen allows Alex Cora to have a very elite option when in need, the most. He struck out two of the innings batters, setting up Kimbrel for another save and a crucial win for Boston.
Porcello faces his second start of this year’s postseason tonight in Game 4 of the ALCS in Houston, a team which he gave up four runs off of seven hits in 5 2/3 innings in his only start against them this season. He will be looking to put the Red Sox up 3-1 in the series, in what would be a huge win, and guarantee at least a series lead going back to Boston.
He faces a star-studded lineup, which will see him match up with the likes of Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve, which will be a tough task for him. If he can command his pitches as he did in his start versus the Yankees, it’ll give the Red Sox a head start, which will be hard to match, as long as there is run support from Boston’s line up.
The way that he has adapted as a reliever and the performances he can show as a starter are both really important assets for the Boston pitching game. He is an elite starter, on his day, and bolsters a bullpen which has been put in to question by many outlets this season. The way that he pitches will be a deciding factor in tonight’s matchup and for the rest of the postseason, a key player on the chase for another championship.