When the Red Sox traded Jon Lester to the A's in 2014 they got OF Yoenis Cespedes in return. After the 2014 season ended the Red Sox traded him to the Tigers for Pitcher Rick Porcello. So effectively the Red Sox traded Jon Lester, World Series hero and borderline ace for Rick Porcello, who at his best is a #3 starter.
What really made Red Sox fans scratch their heads is when the Red Sox signed him to a 4 year 82.5 million dollar deal before throwing a single pitch for the Red Sox. He followed that up by going 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 2015. To say he didn't earn his contract would be an understatement.
2015 Rick Porcello was circling the mound after homers a lot. 25 times to be precise His Canada Day start against the Blue Jays stands out in particular where he gave up 7 runs in 2 innings thanks to 3 long balls.
The 2016 version of the Red Sox biggest concern is starting pitching, with Joe Kelly and E-Rod hurt they are already short arms. They have the offense and bullpen to contend this season but for starters after David Price everybody thought going into the season thought the rest of the rotation was shaky to say the least.
For this team to be successful, multiple guys after David Price have to pitch quality innings to keep this Red Sox team (who's strength is offense) in games. If you give up 3 or 4 runs this team is going to win a majority of the time. Not exactly the most groundbreaking take but it is true. Plus after the last two seasons it has been very rare for the Red Sox to have quality starting pitching.
After giving up a few monster bombs in his first start this year to Jose Bautista, Porcello settled down and pitched 6 innings allowing 4 runs while striking out 7 Toronto Blue Jays. He followed that up by pitching (by his standards) a gem against the Blue Jays only allowing 2 hits and 3 runs over 6.1 innings, while racking up 8 K's.
Tonight v the Rays he pitched shutout baseball for 5 innings before giving up 3 earned runs. His final line was 7 innings pitched, 3 ER and 9 K's. Not exactly Clayton Kershaw numbers but performances like this are really all the Red Sox are asking for out of Porcello. Just keep the game alive. With their offense if you can keep the other team under 4 runs, you're going to win most nights.
While he has given up 5 home runs through his 3 starts and 19.1 innings pitched which is troubling, he has kept the damage to a minimum and kept the Sox in games. I know sabermetrics guys thinks wins are meaningless but Porcello is 3-0 to start 2016. Already has 1/3 of the wins he had last year and it's still April.
Last year it felt like Porcello would give up 8 runs a start and the Sox would be dead in every game by the 3rd inning. He did pitch better towards the end of 2015, I will give him that. While I'm not expecting Rick Porcello to win 20 games and be a Cy Young contender, despite a small sample size I think you have to be encouraged with how he has pitched so far in 2016.
People say Boston fans are tough on players and can be ass holes, which we most certain are. But I've said it a million times we are also very forgiving. If you turn it around you and put in max effort you will get love and support from the fans. John Lackey is the poster child for that sentiment. Hopefully pretty Ricky Porcello can be next.