Rick Porcello has surprised many fans in Red Sox Nation while proving to be a major factor in the Red Sox rotation. After posting a 9-15 record with a 4.92 ERA in his first season with the Sox in 2015, the expectations going into this season were fairly low. Of course, it didn’t help that the Red Sox signed Porcello to a four-year, $82.5 million contract last year. In spring training this year, Porcello posted a 9.77 ERA. The feeling was that this trade and signing was going to be a major failure. Then the regular season started…
In four starts this season, Porcello has posted a 4-0 record, a 3.51 ERA, 30 strikeouts, and a 0.94 WHIP. He’s second in the American League in wins behind Chris Sale who has one additional start. He’s sixth in strikeouts. He’s 5th in WHIP. His strikeout to walk ratio is 30 to 5. Wow! Where has this guy been? Granted, we’re just four starts into the season, but it certainly looks promising. While Porcello isn’t regarded as an elite starting pitcher who has electric stuff, he has proven that he can be a very solid pitcher. After all, he won 15 games with a 3.43 ERA in 2014. He’s also only 27 years old. If he were to pitch like he did in 2014 for Detroit, that would be a big boost for the Red Sox.
So what does this all mean? Well, we all know that Porcello isn’t going to keep up this win total pace. However, if he can keep his starts at 6+ innings while keeping the opposition to three or four runs, he’s going to win a lot of games. With this Red Sox offense, starting pitchers who go deep into games are going to have good results for the most part. 15+ wins is a strong possibility here.
Looking at the bigger picture, the main question mark for the Red Sox going into this season was who’s going to be the #2 starter? Clay Buchholz started the year as the #2 and that certainly has not panned out. We all know the story here. He’ll be lights out at times and he’ll struggle. He isn’t dependable and that remains the case this year. Eduardo Rodriguez has been out, but he’s reportedly on the way back in the next couple of weeks. Steven Wright has looked great, but he’s unlikely to keep up this pace. Porcello has an outstanding chance to solidify that #2 starter role. How does a top three of David Price, Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez sound right about now? It sounds a lot better than it did a month ago. If Buchholz is your #4 with Wright at the bottom end of the rotation, that’s pretty good. If Porcello can keep pitching well, it could prove to be good enough to win a mediocre AL East Division.
It’s April 27th. The Red Sox are 11-9 and are a 1/2 game out of first place. Their offense leads the American League in runs. They’re getting Carson Smith and Eduardo Rodriguez back. Things are looking pretty good.
Rick Porcello is going to be a major factor to this team’s success or lack thereof. If he can keep pitching well, the Red Sox are going to be a very tough team to beat in the American League.