Rick Porcello makes it 4 straight horrible starts by Red Sox pitchers

John Tomase
March 31, 2019 - 10:39 pm

And now it's up to David Price to stop the bleeding.

The Red Sox rotation was rightly hailed as a strength entering the season. With the top four starters in the midst of contracts guaranteeing them more than half a billion dollars combined, the team had every right to expect elite performance from the arms that delivered a World Series title in 2018.

Instead we've been treated to as brutal a turn through the rotation as anything produced by the "He's the Ace" Red Sox of 2015.

On Sunday, Rick Porcello became the fourth car in the pileup. He failed to complete the third inning in a 10-8 loss to the Mariners that dropped the Red Sox to 1-3 on the young season.

Like Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, and Eduard Rodriguez before him, Porcello had nothing. He allowed six hits and nine runs in just 2.2 innings, walking four and serving up a homer. An error in left by J.D. Martinez leading off Seattle's seven-run third led to five unearned runs, or Porcello's final numbers would be even worse.

They still fit right in with his rotation-mates. Sale allowed seven runs and three homers in three innings of a 12-4 loss on opening day. Eovaldi followed with the "best" outing of the four, allowing eight hits and six runs in five innings. The nibbling Rodriguez continued to frustrate by allowing six runs in just 4.1 innings on Saturday.

And then came Porcello. So what's going on?

"Not good baseball," manager Alex Cora told reporters in Seattle. "We didn't get any from the starters and that's hard to do."

Making matters worse, this time the Red Sox jumped on the opposing starter, putting up three runs on Seattle's Wade LeBlanc in the first. Porcello couldn't make it stand, however, spotting Seattle two in the second and seven in the disastrous third, the lowlight a three-run homer by Omar Narvaez.

"We're all different types of pitchers," Porcello said. "The bottom line is you've got to make pitches and be aggressive. I walked four guys in two-plus innings. I think three of those guys came around to score. You can't give out four free passes in two innings. That was a big part of it for me. Just turn the page and get better."

The Red Sox tried to make a game of it on a three-run homer by Martinez in the fourth and a solo shot by Mookie Betts in the sixth.

They loaded the bases with one out in the ninth on four walks to force in a run, but Christian Vazquez (strikeout) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (groundout) left them loaded and that was the ballgame.

"Great that we tried to come back yesterday, great that we tried to come back today, but that can't happen," Cora said. "It's going to be hard. We were already in a tough spot this week because of the bullpen and obviously the starters not going deep, but we'll find a way, tomorrow we've got DP, hopefully he gets us rolling and then everybody starts throwing the ball well."

Until they get a good start from a starter, it'll be hard to feel good about them.

"Those are the same guys that did it last year, so I don't put anything bad on them," Martinez said. "It's just we kind of saw four consecutive bad outings. So, to me, I'm expecting there is going to be a time where there is four consecutive great outings. It's going to be like, whoa, that's the law of averages."