Did the real Rick Porcello stand up last night or was his seven inning, two hit performance against the Blue Jays a fluke? In his first four starts of this early season, he had posted a 1-2 record with an ERA of 6.48. I was one of those people who thought and still thinks very highly of the Rick Porcello that the Red Sox got from the Tigers.
Last year, he was 15-13 with the Tigers pitching behind Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and David Price. He ended the season with a more than respectable 3.43 earned run average to go with his 15 wins.
In his first four starts with the Red Sox he looked like a different pitcher. Of course, the fact that the rest of the rotation was so hot and cold, mostly cold, magnified his failures. Also magnifying the rotations weakness was the resentment the fans felt at letting Jon Lester get away.
I have watched Porcello closely and saw him in spring training this year. The Rick Porcello who started his first four games for the Sox showed no resemblance to the Rick Porcello I watched last night. Not only did he pitch well, after he got by that second inning, he looked confident and in control for the first time since the season started.
Last year, in his first four starts, he was 3-1 with a 3.96 ERA. However, in 2013, he was 0-2 after four starts with an 11.08 ERA. He ended that season with a13-8 record and a 4.32 ERA. Compared to his start in 2013, he is having a good year so far.
Porcello has almost always had a weak April. In his first four starts with the Tigers in 2010, 2011 and 2012, he was 1-2 each year with ERA’s of 7.91, 4.76 and 6.45. In those three years he came back and won 38 and lost 30. After he got by his first four starts in those years and settled in, he won 35 and lost just 24.
So, don’t count Rick Porcello out after a slow start. Last night may be the first of many quality performances the Red Sox get out of him this year and, if I am right, I will be saying I told you so.