Red Sox starter Rick Porcello produces in possibly his last game with franchise

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 25: Rick Porcello #22 of the Boston Red Sox throws against the Texas Rangers in the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on September 25, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 25: Rick Porcello #22 of the Boston Red Sox throws against the Texas Rangers in the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on September 25, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

2019 has been a slippery slope for Rick Porcello. Wednesday, September 25 could have been his last game as a Red Sox and he ended the season on a high note.

The 2019 MLB Season has been a rough season for Boston Red Sox fans. Filled with ups and downs, records set (for good and bad), heartbreaking games, a season that didn’t exactly live up to expectations, and the start of an internal front office reorganization. As frustrating as the season has been for us, it’s been even more frustrating for the Red Sox players. It’s been particularly rough for Rick Porcello.

After his roller coaster of a season, Porcello is set to become a free agent in 2020. The 30-year-old right-handed pitcher put out poor stats with a 5.52 ERA, 1.0 WAR, 1.394 WHIP, with only 14 wins and 12 losses. Since his 2016 season when he went 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA and 1.009 WHIP, his numbers have been on the rise.

Porcello has spent 11 years in the majors – six years with the Detroit Tigers and five with the Red Sox. He was on the World Series-winning squad in 2018 and received the Cy Young Award for his remarkable 2016 season. In 2016, he also won the AL Comeback Player of the Year. He’s marked as being 10th amongst active players for Games Started and 19th for Complete Games.

He’s been on the top 10 Leaderboard for Strikeouts, Innings Pitched, Shutouts, Assists, and Putouts. On the flip side, he’s also been on the top 10 Leaderboard for Errors Committed as a Pitcher, Wild Pitches, Hit by Pitch and Losses. When he’s on his A-game he’s red hot and when he’s not on his A-game it’s a bit of a disaster.

To be fair to Porcello, when any starting pitcher goes through a slump it helps if he has a bullpen that can bail him out of tough situations. One of the constants of the Red Sox 2019 season was the struggles of the Red Sox pen.

Could Porcello have gotten himself out of his slump if he had a stronger support system? In my opinion, yes. But it’s something we’ll never know for sure. Porcello will hopefully be able to prove me right by having a comeback season in 2020.

In what could have been his last start with the Red Sox, Porcello gave everything he had and left it all on the mound. He led the Red Sox to a 10-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.

The game started like many this season for Rick: very shaky. He got himself into a hole early in the first inning but was able to get himself out of it. He allowed three runs, loading the bases, with 0 outs.

Then we saw the old Rick Porcello. In the next five innings, he didn’t allow a run. Over the six innings that he played, he allowed three runs on six hits and struck out eight.

We’ve heard a lot from Porcello this season. He’s been brutally honest with the public about how poor his performances have been. It’s not easy to admit when we make mistakes when we don’t have a bright light on us. The fact that Porcello has been able to do so in the public eye, being scrutinized time and again by the Red Sox fans and media speaks volumes about his character.

There’s a lot of uncertainty that remains for the Red Sox and Porcello. His possible final remarks after his potentially last game in the red and blue uniform were 100% on brand with who Porcello is as an athlete and as a man. He said,

"“From the bottom of my heart, it’s been an absolute pleasure to wear this uniform and pitch for the Red Sox organization for the last five years. For Mr. (John) Henry, Mr. (Tom) Warner, all these guys, our coaching staff, all these players — this is as good of a group as you’re going to find. I know this year hasn’t worked out the way we wanted to, but it doesn’t take away from the special human beings in this clubhouse.”"

Porcello is one of my favorite athletes. His approach to being in the spotlight, dealing with adversity, his preparation, and his ability to speak up for what he believes in makes him a great mentor for many. He raised his voice about PEDs in the league.

He hasn’t posted on Twitter since 2017 and when he was active he used his platform to heavily promote the non-profit organization Team Joseph (working to find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy). Uncommon of many athletes, he doesn’t have an Instagram account (that I know of).

Porcello fought hard this season. It was a constant uphill battle for him. A battle that ended on a high note. As Cora explains, he’s a player who keeps working to improve and find the zone.

In each of the past four seasons, Porcello has started in a minimum of 32 games. The Red Sox went 94-65 in the games that he’s started. Wednesday night marked his 1,500th career strikeout. He’s a fighter, he’s a student of the game.

Porcello is a leader on the mound and off the mound. Porcello has only ever missed five starts in a season back in 2015 when he landed on the DL. WEEI Sports Radio Network’s Rob Bradford explained Porcello best when he said,

"“He represents the kind of professional athlete teams should strive to prioritize. He has made $20 million a year over the past four seasons but carries himself like someone who would legitimately still be playing baseball for free.”"

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Over 11 years, he’s racked up 149 wins and 118 loses. Porcello is a trooper. He’s a fighter. He’s been through adversity and he’s come out the other side. The Red Sox will have big roster changes next season. But, hopefully, given his season this year and his history with the Red Sox they can work out a deal to keep him around. Regardless, if he’s in another uniform or not yet season I know I’ll be keeping a close eye on him.