Rick Porcello

Saturday's Red Sox-Royals matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Edinson Volquez

June 20, 2015 - 3:57 am

In the second game of a three-game series with the Royals, Rick Porcello will take the hill for the Red Sox on Saturday night opposite Edinson Volquez. Porcello will look to get the Sox their third straight win, which, given the way of the season so far, would seem like a minor miracle.

Porcello himself has struggled mightily of late. The right-hander is 4-7 on the season with an ugly 5.29 ERA, while opponents are hitting .271 against him. Among qualified starters, Porcello has the 10th-highest ERA in all of baseball (though still the second highest on his own team, slotting in behind Joe Kelly's 5.32).

Porcello, 26, is in the midst of a five-game losing streak, the worst of his six-year career. He last won on May 16 in Seattle by a 4-2 score. During this skid, Porcello has thrown 31 innings, thus averaging over six innings per start, which is a solid figure. However, Porcello's out-getting has not been accompanied by run prevention. He has allowed 24 runs in the five contests, good for a 6.97 ERA.

In his last time out, Porcello took the loss Monday at the hands of the Braves. The righty pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on six hits while striking out five. The Sox lost 4-2.

"It felt pretty good, honestly," Porcello said of his two-seamer after the outing. "I mean, I was sinking it well on the right-handed hitters. Some of their lefties called for a different approach, so we didn't use it as much against them. All my pitches were working. Just one inning where they put up three runs, that was basically it."

Volquez enters Saturday with a 6-4 record and 3.10 ERA. His is the lowest ERA on the team among qualified starters.

The Royals have won seven of Volquez's eight most recent outings, and he has won four of his past five decisions dating back to May 2. This can be attributed in part to the run support bestowed upon the 31-year-old by his team's offense, but also is a testament to his effectiveness at limiting damage.

Volquez hasn't been a top-of-the-line pitcher this year, but he has been consistently very solid. He has not allowed more than six hits in any given start, nor has he allowed more than four earned runs (which he has done just twice in 13 outings). In seven of his starts, he has allowed two runs or fewer.

In his most recent appearance on Monday, Volquez notched an 8-5 win over Milwaukee. He pitched five innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs. He worked efficiently, using just 78 pitches before being pulled.

Having spent the bulk of his 11-year career in the National League, Volquez has little experience facing the Red Sox. In just two career appearances against Boston (the most recent coming in July 2013), Volquez has pitched 13 combined innings and earned a 2.08 ERA.

Red Sox vs. Volquez (RHP)

Hanley Ramirez (23 plate appearances): .150 AVG/.217 OBP/.200 SLG, 1 double, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts

Pablo Sandoval (13): .462/.462/.692, 3 doubles, 3 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Dustin Pedroia (7): .286/.286/.286, 1 strikeout

Mike Napoli (4): .000/.250/.000, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

David Ortiz is 0-for-2 with a walk against Volquez.

Royals vs. Porcello (RHP)

Alex Rios (44 plate appearances): .205 AVG/.205 OBP/.432 SLG, 1 double, 3 home runs, 7 RBIs, 9 strikeouts

Alex Gordon (40): .282/.300/.487, 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 7 RBIs, 9 strikeouts

Alcides Escobar (32): .125/.125/.156, 1 double, 1 RBI, 6 strikeouts

Eric Hosmer (27): .375/.407/.667, 2 home runs, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Mike Moustakas (27): .240/.296/.360, 3 doubles, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Kendrys Morales (23): .182/.217/.227, 1 double, 1 RBI, 6 strikeouts

Salvador Perez (21): .238/.238/.238, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts

Jarrod Dyson (12): .182/.250/.364, 1 triple, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Lorenzo Cain (11): .300/.364/.300, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Omar Infante (11): .500/.545/.700, 1 triple, 1 walk

Drew Butera (8): .250/.250/.625, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Christian Colon has not faced Porcello.