A frustrated Rick Porcello stated the obvious following his latest poor start where he failed to give the Boston Red Sox a chance to win.
Rick Porcello will be the first to admit that he’s been a disappointment to the Boston Red Sox this season. In the wake of his latest letdown, the dejected right-hander held nothing back in ripping himself apart for his brutal performance. Porcello said plenty but it was nothing that we weren’t already thinking.
Porcello was shelled by the Minnesota Twins for six earned runs on eight hits and a pair of walks while failing to record an out in the fifth inning. Despite receiving the league’s third-best run support, Porcello has somehow managed to lose 11 games, tied for seventh-most in the league.
"“I sucked,” Porcello stated bluntly during NESN’s postgame coverage. “It’s the bottom line. Six runs in four innings is not gonna get it done. We need to win every game right now. That’s the part that hurts the most is going out there and giving it up like that.”"
He’s not wrong. Porcello did suck last night and has for essentially the entire season. His 5.63 ERA is the worst in the majors among qualified starters and his 1.44 WHIP is tied for fifth-worst. Porcello’s strikeout rate of 7.2 K/9 is his lowest since 2014 and his 2.6 BB/9 would be a career-high.
Porcello put himself in an early hole by hitting the first batter of the game and walking Nelson Cruz to put the runner in scoring position. Miguel Sano made him pay for the lack of control with an RBI single to give the Twins an early lead. Porcello has now allowed 19 first-inning runs in 28 starts for a 6.26 ERA.
A two-run triple by Jake Cave in the third inning expanded Minnesota’s lead to 3-0 but at least the Red Sox were still in the game. It was the fifth inning when the game truly unraveled. Cruz hammered a hanging slider to center field for a home run to lead off the inning. Porcello allowed a base hit to Luis Arraez before Sano destroyed a high fastball, sending it 452 feet into the camera well in center field. You can’t hit a ball further than that to center field at Fenway Park.
Sano’s mammoth blast ended Porcello’s night with Boston trailing 6-0. The right-hander would later take the blame for the pair of homers he coughed up in the inning, admitting that he shook off catcher Christian Vazquez and failed to execute the pitches he insisted on throwing.
"“It’s entirely on me,” said Porcello. “I don’t know what else to say besides I’m frustrated, embarrassed, that’s it. (I’m) working hard and putting everything into it but effort level doesn’t get you wins in the big leagues, it’s executing pitches. … No excuses other than the fact that I’ve been terrible.”"
That pretty much sums it up. Porcello was terrible. Granted, the Twins lineup is no picnic for any pitcher to face. Minnesota leads the league in runs scored and shattered the single-season home run record before the calendar flipped to September.
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It’s tough to find a way to win when your pitcher gets lit up for six runs though. The much-maligned Red Sox bullpen held this same juggernaut Twins lineup scoreless over the final five innings to give their offense a chance to rally. They came close, putting the tying run in scoring position with one out in the ninth, only to fall short in a 6-5 loss.
If only Porcello had performed reasonably well, their late rally could have been enough. Instead, he allowed half a dozen runs – the sixth time this season he’s allowed 6+ runs.
Porcello appeared to have turned a corner last month, allowing three runs or fewer in four of his five August starts. We should have known that was a mirage considering his three best starts in that span came against teams at or near the bottom of their division.
The backlash from the fan base would be far more severe if Porcello acted like he didn’t care and you almost feel sorry for him as he grinds through the worst season of his career. As refreshing as it can be for a player to own their mistakes and take responsibility for poor performances, apologies don’t lead to wins.