Rick Porcello

Wednesday's Red Sox-Phillies matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Aaron Harang

April 08, 2015 - 4:24 am

After a day off following Monday's opener, the Red Sox will send newcomer Rick Porcello to the mound against Aaron Harang of the Phillies. Porcello -- who signed a four-year, $82.5 million contract extension Monday -- came to Boston in a trade over the winter after having a good year with the Tigers in 2014. Last season he made 31 starts, going 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP and 129 strikeouts. Porcello, 26, continued his recent success with a good spring training, pitching 14 innings over four starts while posting a 2.57 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP and 11 strikeouts against just three walks. Historically, Porcello has pitched to contact and has not relied on strikeouts to retire batters; for his career, he has a strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio of just 5.5. To be most effective, he would like to see most of the balls in play put on the ground instead of in the air. In his six MLB seasons, his ground out to air out ratio is 1.61. In 2014, that ratio dipped a bit to 1.42, so Porcello will look to improve on that performance starting Wednesday. Porcello's last spring start was last Thursday against the Twins. He pitched four innings, allowing one run on five hits while striking out three and recording 1.14 ground outs for every air out. Porcello received a no decision in that game, as the Red Sox did not score until plating seven in the sixth. "I think the most important thing is the arm and body feel really good, so I'm definitely on the right track," Porcello told reporters after his outing. "It's definitely one of those things where it never really ends throughout the course of the season. There's always maintenance and tweaking to be done, but I feel good about the foundation being built this spring and I'm ready to go." Wednesday will mark Porcello's first career start against the Phillies. Porcello's opponent on the mound will be Harang, a 13-year veteran. With Wednesday's outing, the Phillies will become the seventh team since 2010 for whom Harang has started a game. Last season with the Braves, the 36-year-old right-hander threw over 200 innings for the first time since 2007, going 12-12 with a 3.57 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. His 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings and 3.1 walks per nine innings in 2014 were close to par for his career. In Harang's last spring training start he was hit hard by the Pirates, allowing nine hits, one home run and four runs in 4 2/3 innings. Harang recorded a no decision in the appearance. The Red Sox have historically had some success against the veteran. Red Sox hitters have hit .274 against Harang, who is 2-2 with a 5.08 ERA and a 1.482 WHIP against Boston. Red Sox vs. Harang (RHP) Hanley Ramirez (31 plate appearances): .345 AVG/.387 OBP/.897 SLG, 5 home runs, 1 double, 7 RBIs Shane Victorino (30): .333/.400/.519, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 2 RBIs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout Pablo Sandoval (27): .192/.222/.192, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts Allen Craig (12): .182/.250/.182, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts David Ortiz (12): .455/.500/1.000, 1 HR, 3 doubles, 6 RBIs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts Dustin Pedroia (9): .286/.333/.429, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk Brock Holt (5): .200/.200/.200 Daniel Nava (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 double Ryan Hanigan (3): .333/.333/.333 Mike Napoli has two walks in three plate appearances vs. Harang. Xander Bogaerts has one strikeout in three plate appearances vs. Harang. Sandy Leon and Mookie Betts have not faced Harang. Phillies vs. Porcello (RHP) Ben Revere (21): .368/.429/.474, 1 triple, 2 RBIs, 2 walks Grady Sizemore (19): .167/.211/.167, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts Darin Ruf (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout Carlos Ruiz (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 RBI Chase Utley has one walk and one strikeout in three plate appearances vs. Porcello. No other Phillies have faced Porcello.