Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello: 'I want to prove myself'

Rob Bradford
June 26, 2015 - 10:05 pm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- There was somewhat a sense of relief. After all, it had been since May 16 since the Red Sox won a game Rick Porcello started. The six innings he turned in Friday night against the Rays certainly didn't offer the same kind of frustration as Porcello's recent run of subpar pitching. He allowed three runs while not giving up a fly ball out until the sixth inning. But the pitcher understands important obstacles still haven't been navigated. This is Porcello's accepted lot in life. "It's easy to let frustration set in because I'm in a new environment," the 26-year-old said. "I want to prove myself to my teammates, to the organization and to the fans. And when that doesn't go right you can continue to let that frustration build and that's probably going to lead you down the wrong path. "There's adjustments. There's adjustments every year. Obviously this is a different adjustment for me. I was in one place for a while and you kind of get taken away from that and you have to re-learn everything. It's a new division where you're facing these teams once a year as opposed to three, four, five, six times a year is a different story. I'm adjusting to that, as well." Porcello has never been through a stretch like this. He currently lives with a 5.54 ERA, seventh worst in the major leagues. But, as he pointed out, the results are just part of the pitcher's new world order. There's the new fan base. There's the four-year, $82.5 million extension ready to kick off next season. And there's the Red Sox' need for Porcello to at least be what he was a year ago. And while the Sox' series-opening 4-3 win over Tampa Bay offered a more improved version of Porcello, the righty admitted after the outing the hurdles are still very much in front of him. "It's [expletive]. It sucks. I want to go out there and pitch well as bad anybody, trust me," he said. "But it's a process." Porcello has given up five or more runs five times already this season, totaling eight such performances throughout all of 2014. Friday night, he uncorked his sixth wild pitch, having not managed one throughout all of last season. And the pitcher's ground ball rate is dramatically off from his final year with the Tigers, sitting at 43 percent after never dropping below 50 percent while in Detroit. Getting his head around the differences has been a challenge, one that he took a step toward meeting with his latest start. It has been, for lack of a better description, what he would classify as "unique." "It has been because some of the things that have gone on," he said. "Everything has happened in the past four or five starts where you catch a tough break and then you end up making a mistake and it gets worse and worse. That's a little different for me just because, at least in the past two years, I've gotten a lot better at rebounding from tough starts. That hasn't happened this past couple of weeks. That's been a challenge, definitely mentally more than anything. Physically, I feel good and everything is there. You just keep doing what you're capable of doing, and I'm not capable of doing anything but keeping the ball down and mixing my pitches and getting weak contact. "I would be lying to you if I wasn't frustrated and thinking in my head ... You look at the results and you think I'm not putting my best foot forward, but then you break everything down and I know how hard I work and I know I'm doing the right things. But the results just aren't there yet. It's just a battle. I want to go out there and throw eight zeroes. i want to go on a five-, six-game win streak. You do everything in your power to make that happen, and when it doesn't happen it kind of beats you down a little bit more. But that's the game. I don't know why this stretch has happened. I don't know what's going to happen the next month. All I can control is my preparation, my work and my thought process on the mound and delivering the pitch."