Rick Porcello is back on his ace ish. Yesterday, he tossed seven immaculate innings, allowing just one hit and zero runs while striking out five. He improved to 9-3 as the Boston Red Sox salvaged the last game of a series against the Minnesota Twins.
Porcello is putting together numbers that are in line with what he did in 2016 when he won the Cy Young Award. His 3.44 ERA is a bit higher than it was that year, but his 3.21 FIP is lower. Aside from the FIP improvement, Porcello is also doing a few other things better than he did in 2016. He’s striking batters out at a higher rate, giving up few home runs and inducing more ground balls.
We really shouldn’t be all that surprised. Porcello is a different pitcher in years that end in even numbers than those that end in odd ones. Much like the San Francisco Giants had that even year magic going for a bit, Porcello seems to be doing the same thing. He is already worth more wins (2.2 fWAR) than he was all of last season (2.0 fWAR) and its not even July. Obviously, 2016 was an incredible year for Porcello, but he was not great in 2015 after being solid in 2014. He went 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA in 2014 before being traded to the Red Sox, where he went 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA in 2015.
This is of course not something that can be entirely relied on. Its not as if Porcello looks at the calendar, sees an even number and decides to pitch better, but it is an interesting trend over the last few years. What’s most important in all of this is the Red Sox are getting the good Porcello in 2018.
Speaking of Porcello, here’s a look at a beautiful inning from yesterday. (Chad Jennings; The Athletic) ($$)
Mookie Betts went in the lab to get better. (Peter Abraham; Boston Globe)
J.D. Martinez knows to be careful with what he says to reporters. (Christopher Smith; MassLive)
Throwing hard isn’t all it takes for prospects in the Red Sox’s system. (Alex Speier; Boston Globe)
What kind of trade deals could the Red Sox be looking at? (Dayn Perry; CBS)
It seems trading Rafael Devers or making a move for a third baseman isn’t in the cards. (Chris Cotillo; MassLive)