Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling on D&C: Rick Porcello takes mound Wednesday 'knowing he has to be good'

July 08, 2015 - 6:08 am

ESPN analyst and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling called in for his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the Red Sox and the Rick Porcello problem. To listen to the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Porcello has struggled mightily this season, posting an AL-worst 6.08 ERA and having not recorded a win since May 16. According to Schilling, misfortune can account for some of the ground ball pitcher's troubles.

"When you have a guy that's a contact pitcher, and for the most part that's exactly what he is, his five-game horrible streak can encompass the same amount of ground balls as his five-game dominant streak. When you don't make people swing and miss and when you can't consistently make people swing and miss, there's a luck factor involved," Schilling said, adding, "Any time you get into talking about a pitcher who relies on contact for success, you're coin-flipping."

Porcello will make his final start before the All-Star break on Wednesday night, and Schilling regards the outing as one of the more pressure-filled non-playoff situations possible.

"He knows, he's going out there today, they've righted the ship, he's the one guy that's still floundering," Schilling said. "He's going out there knowing he has to be good tonight, knowing he has to protect his turf, protect his spot.

"I love it because now you're going to find out how Rick Porcello feels or pitches under pressure. This is pressure. This is as much pressure as you can get, I think, besides a playoff game."

The Red Sox have played well recently, running off a string of seven wins in nine games and pulling to within five games of the division-leading Yankees. However, Schilling says that a short run of success should not change the team's mindset as the trade deadline approaches.

"If you're not going to knee jerk over two months of horrible baseball, which they didn't and they usually don't, I'm not sure a couple weeks is worth the other way," Schilling said. "There's a plan in place. ... The plan can't be disrupted by two weeks of baseball or three weeks of baseball. I think they believed coming into the season that they were legitimate contenders."

Rumors have swirled around pitchers who may be traded before the deadline, including Cole Hamels of the Phillies and Johnny Cueto of the Reds. Hamels is under contract through 2018 (with a 2019 team option) while Cueto will be a free agent this winter. According to Schilling, the team control provided by Hamels' contract is the major difference in evaluating both trade targets.

"There's no comparison in the two, for me, from a trade perspective, when you're this deep with prospects with the Red Sox are. You've got Cole Hamels for more than a year under your control, he's a top-of-the-rotation starter, he's proven himself in October, and from a health perspective you've got to feel pretty good about it. ... Somebody's going to have to give the Reds multiple stud prospects for two months [of Cueto's service]," Schilling said.

Trading for either pitcher undoubtedly would require parting ways with a substantial about of young talent within the organization. Schilling said that he would not trade major league players like Xander Bogaerts for such an ace, and that the team's prospect depth will help.

"If I'm the Sox and I'm making a deal, I'm trading three or four guys that aren't on my 25-man roster. And I think they're one of the few teams that can do it," he said.

If the Sox do not trade for a top-of-the-rotation starter and manage to make the postseason, Schilling would thrust rookie left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who has impressed this season, into a prominent role.

"You make the one game playoff, who are you handing the ball to today? I'm giving it to Rodriguez. ... Rodriguez is the guy, for me," Schilling said.