The new ace of the Boston Red Sox’s pitching staff will have to wait until Game Two to make his 2017 debut.
Red Sox manager John Farrell on Wednesday named Rick Porcello the team’s Opening Day starter against the Pittsburgh Pirates, opting for the right-hander over offseason acquisition Chris Sale. Farrell told reporters he informed Porcello about the decision at the start of spring training, per ESPN.com’s Scott Lauber.
“We had three candidates that were certainly worthy and capable,” Farrell said, via ESPN.com. “But I think there’s a lot to be said for the year Rick has had previous, the leader that he’s become on our team and the dependable pitcher that he is.”
Who pitches on Opening Day ultimately is a formality and sometimes is determined on pitchers’ schedules. After all, Porcello’s scheduled rest days line him up to pitch on April 3 for Boston’s season opener at Fenway Park, while Sale’s schedule sets him up to start the second game of the series. Porcello is deserving of the duty, too, after winning the American League Cy Young award following a stellar 2016 campaign.
But the privilege of starting on Opening Day usually is reserved for a team’s de facto ace, and in this case, that player is Sale. The 27-year-old left-hander was the prize acquisition in all of baseball this winter and is the clear-cut No. 1 on the Red Sox’s staff, even with Porcello and the currently injured David Price in the fold.
Of course, Porcello certainly isn’t complaining about Farrell’s decision, as he’ll make the first Opening Day start of his career in front of Boston’s home crowd.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images