The Boston Red Sox begin their title defense this week but as the season goes on it will be Rick Porcello that is the key to their success.
The Red Sox will take the field against the Seattle Mariners this week and begin the long campaign to defend their World Championship. With a majority of the key players returning for the 2019 season the odds are good for Boston to complete the repeat. But if they want to achieve what hasn’t been done in nearly two decades they’ll need to rely on the arm of one man, Rick Porcello.
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Red Sox Nation tends to have a love-hate relationship with Porcello and I’ll admit that I’m no different. During his time in Boston, we’ve seen him win a Cy Young Award and also have the most losses in a season by a starting pitcher. That’s some real opposite ends of the spectrum stuff. But with his tenure as a Red Sox player coming to an end at the end of the season, I have a feeling Rick will be coming out guns blazing this season.
Alex Cora was patient with his starting rotation during spring training this year holding them off until he felt it was right to dust them off. Porcello only worked 12 innings this spring and finished with a 3.75 ERA, not awful and not great. His big issue this spring was that he gave up long balls on four occasions, something he has become known for over the years.
But one moment this spring stuck out to me and made me take a step back. This past Monday while pitching against the Chicago Cubs Porcello took a line drive shot right to the head. In most cases, said player would get removed from the game and most likely miss playing time, not Ricky P. He not only stayed in the game but actually was goofing around and messing with Cora and the training staff.
With “Fighting” Joe Kelly heading to LA this winter, the Red Sox needed someone to fill that void of intensity with a dash of crazy. Rick Porcello seems to be our man for the job. What he did on Monday was just another example of the level of competitiveness that runs through his veins. Red Sox Nation got a good look at what Porcello is made of with his performances in the 2018 postseason.
Much like his righty compatriot Nathan Eovaldi, if Porcello wasn’t on the mound to start the game on a given night you’d find him in the bullpen waiting to get the call from Cora. He didn’t give a damn if his arm hurt for the rest of his life, he wanted to go out there and give everything he had for his teammates and the fans. And he did just that.
"“If we don’t get it done, we’re not going to throw another pitch for four months, and everything we did the entire year is over,” Porcello said. “So I’d much rather throw the s— out of my arm now and have it feel s—-y for three months with a ring on my hand then hem and haw about if I’m good to go and sit there feeling good the entire offseason. This is it. This is do or die.”"
With this being the final year on his current deal with the Red Sox he’ll be pitching for his future. Whether that is with Boston or another organization is yet to be seen. The Red Sox have made it clear that they won’t be working on any deals once the season begins so it looks like fans will have to wait until next winter to see where Porcello lands. If the Red Sox want to continue n this path of success keeping Porcello will be a key to solving the equation.