Boston Red Sox starter Rick Porcello had rattled off four consecutive strong outings heading into Friday night’s contest against the Tampa Bay Rays, but the reigning American League Cy Young winner struggled against Tampa Bay for the second time this season.
Porcello allowed five runs (three earned) on nine hits over six innings of work, which was all the Rays needed to earn the 5-4 victory.
The right-hander’s night started strong with three scoreless innings, but he ran into trouble in the next two frames. He allowed a two-run single to Tim Beckham in the fourth, followed by a Corey Dickerson RBI double and Evan Longoria two-run blast in the fifth.
Porcello simply accredited the tough innings to not hitting his spots.
“Just two innings where I didn’t make pitches with runners on base, and I ended up getting hurt by it,” he said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage.
In two starts against the Rays this season, Porcello certainly hasn’t been at his best. He currently has an 0-2 record against the American League East foe on the 2017 campaign with a 9.58 ERA. To put that in perspective, Porcello owns a 2-3 record with a 2.53 ERA against all other teams.
Porcello was asked about his struggles against Tampa Bay after the game, but similar to tonight’s theme, he pegged missed pitches as the primary reason for the lackluster performances.
“It’s just a result of some poorly executed pitches,” he said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage.
And Red Sox manager John Farrell echoed his ace’s sentiments.
“He’s had a couple of rough starts against Tampa,” Farrell said. “They’ve capitalized on pitches up in the strike zone.”
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Rays.
— Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a first-inning single. The Red Sox shortstop currently owns the longest active hitting streak in the big leagues.
— Josh Rutledge’s fourth-inning error swelled Boston’s third-base error total to 13. Farrell was blunt about his team’s struggles at the hot corner after the game.
“It’s been a tough position for us,” he said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “We’ve tried four or five guys there this season. It’s up for grabs for somebody to step up and take the job.”
— Sandy Leon contributed to the Red Sox’s rally with a two-run double in the seventh inning. The Red Sox catcher has had a flare for the dramatic this season, as 11 of his 13 RBIs have come in the seventh frame or later.
— Porcello has been troubled by a lack of run support this season. Boston has failed to score when Porcello’s on the mound in five of his last six starts.
— Mitch Moreland extended a streak of his own Friday night, albeit a unique one. The Red Sox first baseman drew two walks against the Rays, making it five consecutive games he’s reached base via walk. Moreland leads the club with 20 base-on-balls.
— Evan Longoria loves to hit at Fenway Park. In his last 33 games in Boston, Longoria has a .320 batting average with seven home runs and 19 RBIs. He trails only Jose Bautista for the most long balls hit at Fenway among active visiting players.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images