Rick Porcello delivers much-needed clutch start for Red Sox

Gabby Guerard
June 12, 2019 - 10:08 pm

The crowd was on their feet in the ninth inning, after the Red Sox snapped their three-game losing streak by defeating the Rangers in a walk-off 4-3 victory, and it all began with starting pitcher Rick Porcello. The team needed someone to step up after the starting pitchers had gone 1-5 over the last six games going into Wednesday’s game, and Porcello did just that. (For a complete recap, click here.)

After pitching 6 2/3 innings, the righty allowed five hits, two runs, and not a single walk, while striking out six. Though, Porcello’s opening inning was a little shaky.

Porcello allowed both runs and three of the five hits during the top of the first. Rangers’ Elvis Andrus hit a single to right-center field off an 89 mph two-seam fastball, immediately followed by Nomar Mazara’s ground-rule double to deep center field off a 91 mph four-seam fastball. With Mazara on second and Andrus on third, Porcello pitched a 93 mph four-seam fastball to Hunter Pence, who hit a double deep to right-center field, giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead.

“I think the first inning’s always been kind of one of those things for me, I think it’s one of those things for starting pitchers in general,” said Porcello. “You go out there and you have a plan to establish certain things, and if they’re ready for it, you find that out pretty early. And then the key is being able to adjust and take control back."

But after the first, Porcello cleaned up his game. He retired 15 consecutive batters and didn’t give up another hit until the top of the sixth when Andrus hit a double to deep center field off an 83 mph slider. Though this time, Andrus wouldn’t make it home, because Mazara sent a fly ball to right field which was caught and closed out the inning.

In his last pitch of the game, Porcello gave up a single to Rougned Odor off an 84 mph slider during the top of the seventh. The starter was then relieved by Brandon Workman and was met by a loud round of applause from the crowd at Fenway, as he made his way back to the dugout after throwing 101 pitches, 67 of which were strikes.

“It’s not like he’s making too many mistakes, it’s just a matter of when he makes it a man on second and third, two outs, we pay the price,” said Alex Cora on Porcello’s performance. “But tonight he made some good pitches. He stayed using his fastball in and out and had great tempo, did a good job with Christian (Vazquez), so it’s one of those (things) that tomorrow we got David (Price) and then we can keep rolling.”

Of Porcello’s last 11 starts, he has pitched for at least six innings in all but two. Additionally, the Red Sox have won eight of Porcello’s last 11. 

“We need every win we can get right now, trying to create some momentum, get rolling here, and hopefully we can reel off a couple in a row and get things headed in the right direction again,” Porcello said.

According to Cora, the key to getting things back on track is how the team opens each game.

“Quality starts, that’s the most important thing, and to give the offense the chance to score runs,” he said.

And that's what happened.