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Red Sox Talk: Houston We Have A Problem With Rick Porcello

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Red Sox Talk: Houston We Have A Problem With Reigning AL Cy Young Winner Rick Porcello After He Turns In Another Poor Performance.

The Boston Red Sox took on the Houston Astros on Saturday night with reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello going for Boston.

Porcello was clobbered right out of the gate giving up three runs in the first inning and then giving up another three runs in the third inning. Porcello’s night ended after 6 innings of work giving up 7 runs on 10 hits, striking out three, and walking one batter.

Porcello’s ERA climbs to 5.05 and his record drops to 3-9 on the season with the reigning CY Young winner not finding his bearings in 2017. Porcello hasn’t won a game since May 23rd against the Texas Rangers and he has given up 5 or more earned runs in three straight starts.

Finding out what is wrong with Porcello is not easy to do when looking at his advanced statistics.

On the right-hand side is his heat maps, the top one being from his 2016 Cy Young campaign and the lower one being from this season. The heat zones have similar marks, his misses are also consistent. The largest noticeable difference in his heat maps are that he is throwing slightly more balls in the middle of the strikezone.

2016 Porcello had a 3.15 ERA, 7.63 k/9, 1.29 bb/9, .230 BAA, and 74.3% LOB 1.01 WHIP.

In 2017 Porcello has a 5.05 ERA, 8.52 k/9, 1.77 bb/9, .310 BAA, and 69.4% LOB 1.51 WHIP.

Based on these basic pitching statistics you can see Porcello’s strikeouts per nine

are up this season which is generally considered a good thing. But Porcello’s walks are up and he is allowing more runs to score when their are players on base. A 6% change in LOB might not seem like much, but his career number is 70.1%.

In 2016 Porcello gave up 23 home runs in 33 games started. So far in 2017 he has given up 16 home runs in 15 games started. At this rate Porcello will exceed last years home run total in 7 starts or so.

Home run totals can be deceiving though, so let’s take a look at his HR/FB.

HR/FB = (Total Home Runs Allowed / Fly Balls Allowed)*100

HR/FB is very important because it offers insight into how “lucky or unlucky” a pitcher’s home run rate might be.

In 2016 Porcello’s rate was 9.3% which was his best season in the majors. In 2017 Porcello’s rate is over 13% after giving up two home-runs to the Astros. His career rate is 11% and in 2015 it was a career high 14.5%. For a comparison Chris Sale‘s 2017 HR/FB is 6.7%.

While the home-run ball has been a burden for Porcello, it does not explain everything that has gone wrong with him. His main issues has been his sinker ball which was key to his success in 2016.

“There’s been a constant and persistent focus on trying to regain the release and the action to his sinker,” manager John Farrell said Sunday. “That’s priority No. 1 and has been for him.”

Despite his struggles in 2017 and his inability to use his sinker, there is no time or ability for the Boston Red Sox to give Porcello a breather. Boston has had injuries to Eduardo Rodriguez and others paired with general inconsistencies out of their rotation as a whole.

“There are no alternatives.”- Farrell

 

Tanner founded Trifecta Network in Spring of 2016 and has been the Chief of Content for the Network since that time. Currently Tanner covers all the sports teams in Boston and has contacts in many of the teams in the city. Before starting Trifecta, Tanner was a Site Expert for the FanSided site Chowder and Champions before leaving to cover Boston teams on the ground as a member of the media for Trifecta.

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Name Alex Cora As The New Manager

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Since the firing of John Farrell, the rumor mill has pegged former player Alex Cora as the clear frontrunner. Over the weekend it was being reported that Boston had decided on Cora but was waiting for the right time to announce the decision.

On Sunday the naming of the 47th manager in team history was made official.

“We were very impressed when we interviewed Alex,” said Dombrowski. “He came to us as a highly-regarded candidate, and from speaking with him throughout this process, we found him to be very knowledgeable, driven, and deserving of this opportunity. He is a highly respected and hardworking individual who has experience playing in Boston.”

Cora played in Boston from 2005 to 2008, and is currently a bench coach with the World Series-bound Houston Astros.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to be named manager of the Boston Red Sox and I want to thank Dave, John Henry, Tom Werner, and Sam Kennedy for giving me such a tremendous opportunity,” Cora said. “Returning to the Red Sox and the city of Boston is a dream come true for me and my family and I look forward to working towards the ultimate goal of winning another championship for this city and its great fans.”

“In Alex we have found a natural leader to guide our clubhouse,” said Henry. “He is extremely smart with a dedication to what it takes to be successful in today’s game on the field. His baseball acumen and his ability to think strategically are uncommon for someone his age. We could not have found a better match for our players, our front office and for where we intend to go over the coming years as an organization.”

“Alex also has a full appreciation for the use of analytical information in today’s game and his ability to communicate and relate to both young players and veterans is a plus,” added Dombrowski. “Finally, the fact that he is bilingual is very significant for our club.”

The official press conference on the hiring will take place after the conclusion of the Fall Classic.

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Red Sox Managerial Decision Seemingly Made Up

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Did anyone think that the Boston Red Sox would take their time when hiring their new field manager? According to one report the team is moving rather quickly

According to one report, the team is moving rather quickly to the point where their minds are already made up.

“There is a 99.9 percent chance of [Cora] being named Red Sox leader,” a source told Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Dia. “They want him for the job. That post is for him. Alex is very beloved there. And he would love to run Boston. They want to make the fast decision.”

Cora is currently serving as the bench coach for the Houston Astros, a team that is battling it out with the New York Yankees for the chance to go to the World Series. Boston isn’t the only suitor for the former player however. Cora is set to meet with the New York Mets on Tuesday and is also expected to be of interest to other teams like the Philadelphia Phillies.

But the interest between Boston and Cora is mutual and a report from Puerto Rico confirms that. Cora played for the Red Sox during his career and was part of the 2007 Wolrd Series team. At the time he was considered an excellent leader on the team that had all the intangible qualities of one daying being an excellent coach. Since his playing days, he has served as an ESPN Analyst, GM of Puerto Rico national team, coach in Puerto Rico’s baseball league, and now a bench coach for Houston.

If the Red Sox are able to bring in Cora it would be seen as if they had been grooming him for years and that he is their guy. With other suitors in tow, it looks like an offer from the Boston Red Sox to Cora is going to come rather quickly. And quite frankly, this is the best decision for the team.

Acquiring Cora is far superior to a long time mediocre manager like Ron Gardenhire or a failed first coach stinter like Brad Ausmus. Cora is both young and has some prior experience to bring to the table. The one real question with him is if he will be too buddy-buddy with the players, a very real possibility.

Red Sox fans seem to be rather torn on this topic, many seem to like the idea of an old manager like Gardenhire, while others favor Cora who was a fan favorite as a player. In reality the true intentions or favorite of the Red Sox is unknown, but for the moment, Cora looks like the lock.

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Red Sox Manager Contestants Stepping Right Up

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On Wednesday the Boston Red Sox fired field manager John Farrell. With the departure of Farrell, the Red Sox must now conduct a full and wide search for their next manager. There are dozens of potential candidates for the job. The one choice that will have to be made is to either to go young or go old.

Fortunately for us, Dave Dombrowski gave a general outline of what he will be looking for in the next manager. In his post-firing presser, he mentioned that the candidate is unlikely to come from within.

That comment seemingly rules out a candidate like Chili Davis or Gary Ddisarcina.

In terms of experience, Dombrowski said “I think managerial experience helps. I don’t think it’s a 100% necessity.”. He also mentioned the importance of being in the dugout as experience. The last time Dombrowski hired a field manager he was in charge of the Detroit Tigers. The coach he hired at the time was Brad Asmus. So maybe that means he will go on the younger side.

If he goes young in terms of experience here is the list of potential candidates:

  • Brad Asmus: Asmus was let go by Detriot after having a rather shaky first tenure as a manager. He was hired by Dombrowski and has plenty of connections to New England. He will land somewhere this offseason.
  • Alex Cora: Direct connections to Boston and knows how the media is here. Well respected by players and has coached in Puerto Rico and is the bench coach for AJ Hinch’s Houston Astros.
  • Jason Varitek: Obvious connections here. But he has no actual experience as a coach in the dugout. He has helped with player development and scouting as a special assistant to the gm in Boston. But chances are he isn’t in the conversation.
  • Hensley Meulens: Speaks Spanish, English (and other languages), has extensive coaching experience and serves as the hitting coach for the Giants. Has coached the Netherlands in the WBC. There has been a rumor that Major League Baseball is encouraging the Red Sox to hire a coach of minority status. Meulens fits that bill.

In terms of an older/experiences option, there are a few. There is an opportunity here for Dombrowksi. That opportunity is to convince the well respected Jim Leyland to come out of retirement. Leyland though doesn’t seem interested in coaching again and decline to come to Boston a long time ago.

Below are few options for an experienced field manager:

  • Leyland
  • Torey Luvullo: Had a 93 win first season at the helm of Arizona. Could be convinced to leave to come back to Boston.
  • Joe Girardi: Could be on his way out of New York. Is a noted good in-game manager.
  • Ron Gardenhire: Former Twins manager and currently a bench coach for the Diamondbacks. This kind of smells to me though.

What way will Dombrowski go with is anyone’s guess. This process can take awhile with the team needing to lock down a list and start the interview process. According to Dombrowski he always has a list of people for every position he might have to hire for. So, in theory, this could happen fairly quickly.

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