BOSTON — The Red Sox’s underwhelming performance in Thursday’s playoff opener started at the top. Just not in the literal sense.
Game 1 of the American League Division Series saw a rare poor outing from Cy Young Award candidate Rick Porcello, whom the Cleveland Indians roughed up for five runs over 4 1/3 innings in Boston’s 5-4 loss at Progressive Field.
Porcello wasn’t his usual self, and some wondered whether his hat, of all things, was the culprit. After all, the right-hander had worn the same “lucky hat” throughout the entire season, and it helped him win a league-best 22 games despite being in pretty gross condition by the end of the year. Players have to wear special caps with patches on them during the postseason, though, so maybe the switch got to his head?
Not so fast. According to Porcello, he made special arrangements to ensure his superstition didn’t end Thursday night.
“No, that was my hat,” Porcello said Monday before Game 3 of the ALDS at Fenway Park. “Actually, I think (clubhouse manager) Tommy (McLaughlin) said the (equipment) guy flew in just to press it and put the ALDS patch on there. So, it was the same hat. I’ll continue to wear the same hat until the season’s over.”
The 27-year-old veteran will get another chance to wear the sweaty hat if the Red Sox win Game 3 on Monday, as manager John Farrell named Porcello the team’s starter for Game 4 on Tuesday. And despite his underwhelming Game 1 start in which he allowed three home runs in a single inning, he’s confident in his ability to turn things around Tuesday, if necessary.
“I think there’s a couple of scenarios where I was trying to do a little too much with some pitches and left them up and got hurt by them with home runs,” Porcello said. “But those are little things that I can correct easily that I was actually able to correct in the game.
“… So, (I’m) just trying to be sound mechanically and that will allow me to execute the pitches I want to execute.”
Thumbnail photo via David Richard/USA TODAY Sports Images