Boston Red Sox: Rick Porcello impressive when it matters most

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 30: Rick Porcello
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 30: Rick Porcello /

Boston Red Sox completed a three-game sweep over the Toronto Blue Jays behind the strong pitching performance of Rick Porcello.

On a Wednesday night in Toronto, Boston Red Sox right-handed pitcher Rick Porcello stepped on the mound and delivered one of his strongest pitching performances of the season.

The reigning American League Cy Young winner allowed one run, six hits and fanned seven over 6.2 innings in the Red Sox 7-1 win at the Rogers Centre.  Impressively, Porcello held his own until his offense finally broke lose in the fifth inning.

While a solo shot by Hanley Ramirez and a two-run, pinch-hitting blast by Mitch Moreland ultimately won the game for the Red Sox, Porcello made it all possible with his arm and glove.

A game of luck and skill

Trailing 1-0 in the fourth, the right-handed pitcher got out of bases-loaded jam that changed the complexion of the game.  With his grove, Porcello snagged a lined shot off the bat of Darwin Barney to record the second out of the inning.  He then focused in to strike out Raffy Lopez to keep his team at a one-run deficit.

BOSTON, MA – AUGUST 15: Rick Porcello
BOSTON, MA – AUGUST 15: Rick Porcello /

It was a situation Porcello typically would’ve imploded in, but the fact that he locked in and pitched his way out of a tough situation shows a pitcher who is coming through for his team at the right time.

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Take away his rough outing against the Baltimore Orioles, Rick Porcello has been a reliable pitcher during the second half of the season.  He has won five of his last six starts while showing glimpses of the 22-game winner he was a season ago.

When it matters most

More importantly for the Boston Red Sox, Porcello’s performance Wednesday night helped push their AL East lead over the New York Yankees to 5 ½ games.  In outdueling Jays starter J.A. Happ, Porcello showed he has what it takes to perform in big moment games.

No, the Toronto Blue Jays are not the Cleveland Indians are any team they may meet in the postseason, but Porcello’s ability to keep his team in the game when the bats were silent is a positive.  He did it by keeping the ball in the strike zone.

"“I thought he had a good mix of pitches tonight,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said, via  “He threw a lot of strikes.  He and [catcher Christian] Vazquez work very well together.”"

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Although his 9-15 record on the season would suggest a less than mediocre pitcher, Rick Porcello’s pitching lately has peaked when it matters most.