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

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


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