Red Sox starter Rick Porcello gets hammered in wild first inning in London
By Sean Penney
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello failed to make it out of the first inning of a high-scoring affair with the Yankees in London.
Fans in London didn’t have to wait long to see some offensive fireworks in the first MLB game every played in Europe. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees both came charging out of the gate with an explosive first inning that thrilled everyone in attendance. Well, except for the pitchers.
Rick Porcello had a rough day, getting shelled for six earned runs while recording only one out. The Yankees jumped on Porcello early with DJ LeMahieu knocking a base hit to right on the second pitch of the game.
Jackie Bradley Jr. appeared to have some trouble tracking Aaron Judge‘s fly ball to center but he managed to get under it just in time for the only out that Porcello would get credit for.
A walk to Gary Sanchez moved LeMahieu into scoring position for Luke Voit‘s RBI double. Porcello should have put Voit away on a pop up in London Stadium’s enormous foul territory but Michael Chavis wasn’t able to chase it down. Given a second chance, Voit made the Red Sox pay to give the Yankees an early lead.
The Bronx Bombers were far from done tormenting Porcello. Didi Gregorius and Edwin Encarnacion stung a pair of doubles to add a few more runs to the lead. Then Aaron Hicks hammered the final nail into Porcello’s coffin with a two-run homer. The 386-foot shot to right would barely make it to the bullpen at Fenway but it looked like it was crushed deep into the stands of this ballpark.
Needless to say, this was the shortest start of Porcello’s career. Believe it or not, it wasn’t his worst outing though. The Angels tagged Porcello for nine runs in 2/3 of an inning in 2013 when he pitched for the Tigers.
Imagine pitching as poorly as Porcello did and not getting charged with a loss. His offense bailed him out by scoring six runs to tie the game in the bottom of the first inning, ensuring Porcello would end up with a no-decision.
The rally was capped by a three-run homer to center by Chavis, making up for his defensive miscue in the top of the inning. London Stadium’s center field fence is closer to home plate than any major league ballpark but this was no cheap shot. The 425-foot missile off the bat of Chavis would get out of most ballparks.
The six earned runs are the most that Porcello has allowed since April 5 in Arizona. He’s allowed 5+ runs in consecutive starts and has done so three times this month. Porcello’s ERA in June inflates to 6.45 and he now owns a 5.07 ERA for the season.
This is shaping up to be the worst season of Porcello’s career which is not what a 30-year old pitcher wants to see in a contract year.
We knew the small dimensions of London Stadium could turn this series into a slugfest but nobody could have expected both teams to put up a six spot in the first inning or that neither starting pitcher would make it out of the opening frame. If MLB was hoping for plenty of exciting run scoring plays to sell fans in London on the game of baseball, they certainly got their wish.