Rick Porcello

Wednesday's Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Mark Buehrle

July 01, 2015 - 3:52 am
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The Red Sox will open July on the back of Rick Porcello as he takes the bump against Mark Buehrle and the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon at Rogers Centre. Porcello heads into Wednesday's start saddled with a 4-8 record and a 5.54 ERA, the fourth-worst mark for a qualified starter in the AL. All season long, Porcello has wilted under the weight of his $82.5 million contract, posting career worsts in HR/9 (1.3), ground ball-fly ball ratio (0.80) and line drive percentage (27 percent). Hitters have squared up Porcello for the seventh-highest hard contact percentage in the AL (32 percent). Somehow, Porcello has gotten worse of late. In his last four outings, the right-hander has gone 0-3 with a 7.15 ERA, touched up for 33 hits in 22 2/3 innings. Porcello has not been helped by a .408 BABIP, nor a 59 percent strand rate, a figure well below the league average of 72 percent. Not all of Porcello's issues during this stretch can be traced back to bad luck, though. The 26-year-old has proven time and time again his inability to miss bats. Over his last four starts, Porcello sports a meager 8.2 swinging strike percentage. Furthermore, in two of these four outings, Porcello has allowed contact on more than 95 percent of his pitches in the strike zone. "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, Porcello said. "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." Opposing Porcello will be Buehrle, the poster man for longevity in the major leagues. The 36-year-old has won 10-plus games for an astounding 14 consecutive years. He shows no sign of ending his streak in 2015, as he's gone 8-4 with a 3.81 ERA. Aided by a .278 BABIP, Buehrle has stayed strong in 2015 by working a 47.3 ground ball percentage, his best since 2008. As he has throughout his career, the wily southpaw has been especially strong with runners on base, leaving 75.6 percent of runners stranded this year. Buehrle has turned it up during the month of June, tossing 36 innings and posting a 1.75 ERA to go along with a .216/.252/.348 opponents' slash line. Additionally, Buehrle has walked just six batters over this period, helping him to a 0.97 WHIP, a career-low for June. "You get 10-plus runs scored for you it makes it lot easier," Buehrle said after his latest start, a 12-2 drubbing issued by the Blue Jays onto the Rangers. "I joke around with these guys and told them I've never lost with 10-plus runs scored for me, so every time we get to seven or eight I say, '€˜Hey, I've never lost with 10, so score a couple more.' " For his career, Buehrle has had average success against the Red Sox. He is 10-10 with a 4.34 ERA and has accumulated a 1.44 WHIP. Red Sox vs. Buehrle (LHP) David Ortiz (84 plate appearances): .316 AVG/.357 OBP/.582 SLG, 9 doubles, 4 HR, 14 RBIs Mike Napoli (28): .292/.357/.500, 1 HR, 2 RBIs Xander Bogaerts (11): .273/.273/.727, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 1 RBI Jackie Bradley (9): .250/.333/.625, 1 double, 1 triple Hanley Ramirez (9): .222/.222/.222, 1 RBI Brock Holt (6): .333/.333/.500, 1 double Alejandro De Aza (4): .333/.500/.333, 1 walk No other Red Sox have faced Buehrle. Blue Jays vs. Porcello (RHP) Jose Bautista (19): .471/.526/.471, 3 RBIs, 2 walks Danny Valencia (17): .267/.353/.333, 1 double, 2 walks Edwin Encarnacion (15): .400/.400/.667, 4 doubles, 3 RBIs Russell Martin (13): .091/.231/.091, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts Justin Smoak (12): .273/.333/.545, 1 HR, 4 RBIs Jose Reyes (11): .400/.400/.600, 1 triple Josh Donaldson (8): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts Ezequiel Carrera (7): .286/.286/.714, 1 double, 1 triple, 2 RBIs Chris Colabello is 0-for-2 with a strikeout against Porcello. Dioner Navarro is 0-for-1 with a strikeout in two plate appearances against Porcello. No other Blue Jays have faced Porcello.

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