Rick Porcello

Wednesday's Red Sox-White Sox matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Chris Sale

August 26, 2015 - 4:03 am
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Rick Porcello will duel with former AL Central foe Chris Sale and the White Sox on Wednesday when the Red Sox close out their three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field. Porcello will make his first start since hitting the DL on Aug. 2 with a triceps strain. Certainly, he and the Red Sox hope that his time away helped his psyche. The right-hander has had anything but a smooth season in the wake of signing a four-year, $82.5 million contract extension. He's gone 5-11 with a 5.81 ERA, the worst mark among AL starters with more than 100 innings pitched. He's giving up home runs at the worst rate of his career (1.6 HR/9) and he's accumulated a -0.6 WAR. In his last start before heading to the DL on July 29, Porcello was roughed up by the White Sox. He lasted just two innings, giving up 10 hits and six runs before getting the pull from manager John Farrell. Porcello gave up two long balls in the game, his eighth multi-homer start of the season. After the game, he did not have a glowing review of his performance. "Some of the mechanical issues that I've had in the past this year kind of came back tonight," Porcello said. "You get out there in the heat of the moment and all you'€™re thinking about is competing and doing whatever you can do to get out of that situation." "I had a bad game," Porcello added. "I elevated some pitches, fell behind some guys, [had] a couple walks, put some runners on base [which] put me in some tough spots and I didn't recover." Porcello has had limited success against the White Sox in the past, as he owns a 9-8 record and a 4.32 ERA against Chicago. White Sox hitters have had his number, posting a .357/.390/.593 slash line in his 20 starts against them. Porcello draws one of the toughest matchups in the game in Sale, who's picked up right where he left off in 2014, when he went 12-4 with a 2.17 ERA. Yet to win a Cy Young Award, Sale could get his first this year. The left-handed sidearmer is 12-7 with a 3.34 ERA and an AL-leading 222 strikeouts in 164 1/3 innings. If Sale's standard stats are impressive, then his peripherals are blow-away. He leads the AL with a 2.37 FIP, better than his 2014's 2.57, and is second only to reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw in WAR at 5.6. Even with a .317 opponent BABIP, batters are slashing a paltry .221/.270/.349 against Sale. To make matters worse for the Red Sox, Sale has only gotten more dominant of late. He's won his last three outings, whiffing an astounding 36 batters in 21 1/3 innings. He's generated 58 swinging strikes in these starts, and this ability to miss bats has helped him produce a 2.11 ERA and a .135 opponent batting average. In his latest outing against the Mariners last Friday, Sale went seven innings, punching out 14 while walking just one batter in an 11-4 White Sox win. Facing 2010 AL Cy Young Award recipient Felix Hernandez, Sale further cemented his position among the league's best. "Any time you've got a big matchup it's always fun," Sale said of going against Hernandez. "You try to go out and do the best you can every time but it's hard not to find yourself in the moment and a little amped up." Surprisingly, the Red Sox have had a decent amount of success against Sale. Earlier this summer on July 30, they tagged him with 12 hits and seven runs for one of his worst outings of the season. Red Sox hitters as a whole have batted .309 vs. Sale with three doubles and eight RBIs. Red Sox vs. Sale (LHP) David Ortiz (13 plate appearances): .385 AVG/.385 OBP/.462 SLG, 1 double, 2 RBIs Xander Bogaerts (9): .500/.556/.875, 1 HR, 1 RBI Jackie Bradley Jr. (8): .143/.250/.143, 3 strikeouts Brock Holt (8): .125/.125/.125, 4 strikeouts Pablo Sandoval (8): .000/.000/.000, 4 strikeouts Mookie Betts (3): .667/.667/1.333, 2 doubles Rusney Castillo (3): .333/.333/.333 Hanley Ramirez (3): .333/.333/.333 Blake Swihart (3): .667/.667/.667 Josh Rutledge has registered one plate appearance vs. Sale. No other Red Sox have faced Sale. White Sox vs. Porcello (RHP) Alexei Ramirez (53): .173/.173/.288, 2 HR, 2 RBIs Gordon Beckham (37): .469/.486/.750, 6 doubles, 1 HR, 6 RBIs Melky Cabrera (24): .545/.583/.818, 3 doubles, 1 HR, 3 RBIs Tyler Flowers (19): .176/.263/.235, 6 strikeouts Avisail Garcia (16): .467/.500/.533, 1 double, 3 RBIs Jose Abreu (9): .250/.333/.625, 1 HR, 3 RBIs Adam Eaton (9): .444/.444/1.111, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 HR, 2 RBIs Adam LaRoche (8): .667/.750/.833, 1 double Geovany Soto (7): .571/.571/1.571, 2 HR, 2 RBIs Carlos Sanchez (6): .500/.500/.833, 2 doubles, 1 RBI J.B. Shuck (6): .167/.167/.333 Tyler Saladino is 1-for-2 against Porcello. Trayce Thompson has never faced Porcello.

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