If you've seen one Rick Porcello loss this year, you've just about seen them all. Home run, home run, home run, and it's all over almost before it began. The ground ball specialist allowed a whole bunch of loud fly balls today, three of them leaving the park before he could so much as escape the second, leaving the Jays the winners in an 11-2 laugher.
It's the changeup that's the biggest problem at this point. It doesn't matter if it's in Toronto or Fenway or probably even Pawtucket at this point. Early in the season, Porcello seemed to lose faith in his slider, and now he's relying on a changeup which headed into this game had already proved one of the most hittable pitches in the majors. Today, it was Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Smoak who feasted on it, clobbering three- and two-run homers respectively in the first inning to put this one away in a hurry.
Pretending that's the only problem, though, is silly. That first homer was worth three runs because Porcello had allowed two quick hits on his fastball to start the first, and in the second it was Jose Bautista going deep off Porcello's fastball for a third Blue Jays homer to make it 7-0.
Rick Porcello, simply put, is broken. There are plenty out there who are shouting "I told you so" from the highest possible peak, but it just doesn't apply here. Rick Porcello is not regressing to the pitcher who struggled in his early years with the Tigers, largely because nobody could field a damn ground ball. He's gone from a pitcher who consistently kept the ball on the ground for the Tigers infield to watch roll by into the outfield to a fly-ball mess who can't help but hang his off-speed stuff, gives up homers by the dozen, and is actually below average when it comes to inducing ground balls.
He's like John Lackey circa 2011, but without Peter Gammons there to drop Tommy John Surgery speculation out of nowhere and give us hope that maybe the rest of this contract can be salvaged.
The Red Sox scored only a couple of runs, with the bats largely quiet outside of a few loud extra base hits, the best of the bunch being Mookie Betts' ninth homer of the year. But can you blame them? It's hard to go up to bat with much enthusiasm when half the lineup steps to the plate for the first time down by five.
It's probably time for Rick Porcello to go. They can't shuffle him off to Pawtucket, but they can pull a Masterson and stick him on the DL with a phantom injury. And while they're at it, maybe they can get him checked out for something real. Because it's hard to understand how Rick Porcello has changed so fundamentally from one year to the next.