BOSTON — The Red Sox haven’t mapped out their rotation for the American League Division Series quite yet, but Rick Porcello almost certainly will be the No. 1 guy.
The right-hander didn’t turn in his best outing against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday, but it still was good enough to give the Red Sox a 5-3 win. And that’s been the most important part of Porcello’s presence this season: When he’s on the mound, he gives the Red Sox the opportunity to win.
“I feel good about the body of work this year,” Porcello said. “More importantly, consistency of giving us a chance to win, providing something that you can count on every fifth day, and that’s what I’ve been looking to do since I got here.”
Porcello’s 22-4 record and 3.15 ERA have not only made him an obvious choice to start in Game 1 of the ALDS, but it’s also put him in consideration for the AL Cy Young award. And Porcello’s teammates agree.
“He’s the Cy Young, man,” David Ortiz said. “He’s the Cy Young. No doubt about it. You can put it down like that. What he’s been doing this season, his numbers talk by themselves.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell said the rotation would sit down and talk about the postseason after this weekend’s games are complete. But if Porcello is the No. 1, then he’ll be ready.
“I feel good,” Porcello said of his confidence going into the playoffs. “That’s a good ball club in Toronto, and the more you face them the more they see, it’s almost like the tougher it gets, so I felt good about (Friday night). Made a couple mistakes, but overall I feel really good and confident going into the postseason.”
Here are some more notes from Friday’s win.
— Ortiz’s go-ahead homer in the seventh inning set a couple of milestones for the designated hitter. It was his 500th home run with the Red Sox, including the postseason (483 in the regular season, 17 in the playoffs), and his 1,192nd extra-base hit, which tied Ken Griffey Jr. and Rafael Palmeiro for eighth on the all-time list.
— Second baseman Dustin Pedroia collected his 200th hit of the season — he added a 201st in the seventh inning — for the second time in his career. He and right fielder Mookie Betts are the second duo in Red Sox history to reach 200-plus hits and 100-plus runs each in a season after Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez did it in 2011.
“He’s having a heck of a year in his own right,” Farrell said of Pedroia. “There’s been so many individual performances, and Pedey’s right in the midst of them. Right from the first day of spring training, you could tell he was in a good place physically, and that’s carried through to today.”
— The Red Sox officially will play the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS after the Texas Rangers clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Indians are a half a game back of the Red Sox at 92-67, and Boston also owns the tiebreaker after going 5-2 against the Tribe this season.
— Steven Wright won’t be eligible for the ALDS, but he threw a 35-pitch bullpen Friday at 75 percent effort. Farrell said they want the knuckleballer to pitch two more bullpens — the next being Monday — before he starts to see hitters.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images