Rick Porcello

Friday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Alex Colome

June 26, 2015 - 4:09 am

Ten games under .500 after dropping two of three to the Orioles, the Red Sox travel to Tampa Bay to take on the AL East-leading Rays. Boston will trot Rick Porcello to the mound Friday for the first game of the series while Alex Colome gets the ball for Tampa.

Porcello, 4-8 with a 5.61 ERA, is in the midst of a six-game losing streak that dates back to May 22. During that stretch, the righty has posted a whopping 7.50 ERA over 36 innings, issuing eight walks, hitting four batters and striking out 23. He's also allowed five home runs as opponents have slashed .305/.355/.461 against him in that time. Most recently, Porcello received a loss in his start vs. the Royals on Saturday, lasting five innings and giving up six earned runs on eight hits. A pair of home runs contributed to his abridged outing, and he had actually been doing OK up until the fifth inning of play. Porcello had to work around a couple of sticky situations in the first four frames but gave up just one earned run in the process. With a 4-1 Sox lead heading into the bottom of the fifth, things got iffy. Porcello hit the leadoff man and surrendered two consecutive singles to give Kansas City its second run of the day. Following a balk, a sac fly and an RBI single, the Royals had tied the game. Then, with a man on, the Red Sox starter conceded a two-run homer to give KC a 6-4 lead, one it wouldn't relinquish as the Royals eventually won 7-4. "Last time out for Rick, and seemingly over the past half-dozen times, it's been the big inning," manager John Farrell said Wednesday. "I think at times he's gotten away from a game plan that's really been successful up to that point in the game, and that's where you go through reviews, you take trips to the mound, you give reminders, but ultimately it's being consistent for a starter with two main pitches that you've got to execute. "What we're trying to get back to with Rick is a more consistent two-seamer, which has been his calling card pretty much the five years prior to this year in the big leagues, and that is the one that has been inconsistent for him," he added. Facing Tampa might be just what the doctor ordered for Porcello, who has a career 2.80 ERA and a 4-3 record vs. the Rays in eight starts and 54 2/3 innings pitched. The 26-year-old last saw the Sox' division rival on May 5 when Porcello turned in a scoreless, seven-inning effort, giving up eight hits and fanning six. He has held Tampa to a .239/.277/.306 slash line when the Rays see him and has allowed 50 hits with just eight going for extra bases. In addition, his 1.061 WHIP vs. Tampa Bay is his best split of that nature in terms of teams he's made at least four starts against. Colome got his first taste of Boston earlier this season on May 6. The right-hander strung together a five-inning, two-run performance that was enough to earn him the win, and he managed to strike out four while doing so. On the year, Colome (3-3, 4.50) has had his ups and downs. He hasn't secured a win since May 21, similar to Porcello, though his misfortunes include four no-decisions compared to two outright losses. Batters are hitting .282 off of Colome through 11 starts. In 56 innings of work, he has posted a 1.411 WHIP and is averaging 6.3 strikeouts per nine innings. His latest start, a one-hit, seven-inning venture on Sunday with two walks and four strikeouts kept his Rays in the game, but they ultimately lost 1-0 to the Indians. Colome's outing came on the heels of an almost disastrous one prior, as he managed just two full innings on June 16 and gave up six earned runs on seven hits and three walks. "Really, really competitive day for Colome," Rays catcher Curt Casali said Sunday. "Especially after the last outing. For him to just completely flush that and come out here and work his butt off. "He was throwing a lot of strikes [Sunday]," he continued. "And that's what you have to do in baseball. If you fall behind guys it makes it hard to compete. He was throwing everything for strikes. Getting inside to the hitters. I was real happy with how he did [Sunday]." Red Sox vs. Colome (RHP) Mookie Betts (3 plate appearances): .000 AVG/.000 OBP/.000 SLG Dustin Pedroia (3): .500/.333/.500, 1 RBI Xander Bogaerts (2): .500/.500/1.000, 1 double David Ortiz (2): .000/.000/.000 Pablo Sandoval (2): .500/.500/.500 Blake Swihart (2): .500/.500/1.000, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout Alejandro De Aza has two strikeouts in as many plate appearances vs. Colome while Brock Holt and Mike Napoli each have a K in two plate appearances. Rays vs. Porcello (RHP) Asdrubal Cabrera (52 plate appearances): .277 AVG/.346 OBP/.319 SLG, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts David DeJesus (28): .400/.464/.520, 1 double, 1 triple, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts Evan Longoria (19): .176/.263/.176, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts Kevin Kiermaier (10): .100/.100/.100, 1 RBI Logan Forsythe (6): .167/.167/.167 Curt Casali (3): .000/.000/.000 Rene Rivera (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout Steven Souza (2): .667/.667/.667, 1 strikeout Joey Butler has one strikeout in three plate appearances against Porcello.