Wednesday night belonged to Rick Porcello.
The Boston Red Sox right-hander made his return to the team against the Chicago White Sox with a lot hanging over his head. He was coming off the disabled list, where he had been since Aug. 2 with triceps soreness, after a lackluster season to date that has seen him go 5-11 in 20 starts with a 5.81 ERA. Fans were frustrated that he wasn’t living up to his four-year, $82.5 million contract.
But on Wednesday, Porcello kept up with White Sox ace Chris Sale and won.
The 26-year-old threw seven scoreless innings, allowing just five hits while striking out five and issuing no walks. His offense delivered, too, as first baseman Travis Shaw hit a two-run homer in the eighth to give Porcello the eventual 3-0 win.
Let’s take a look at some more notes from Wednesday’s contest.
— Porcello credited his sudden success to a lot of reflection while he was on the DL. The right-hander said he was frustrated that he had gotten away from what he does best, and he plans to be more disciplined going forward.
“Pinpointed inconsistencies that led to inconsistently locating the fastball,” Porcello said, per WEEI’s Rob Bradford. “My delivery, kind of going back and forth with the four seamer and sinker, found it hard to get a groove with one pitch. It wasn’t anything that I could foresee happening.
“I was throwing some pretty good four-seam fastballs early on in the year, and it was a viable weapon for me, and in turn it kind of led to me getting away from doing what I do well, which is sink the ball. I kind of came to the realization that I need to throw sinkers primarily and then occasionally throw a four-seamer. Not 50-50 or anything like that. That’s what we talked about a lot and just trying to get back to keeping the ball down and then have timely, elevated fastballs.”
— The Red Sox’s win Wednesday gave them the series, which means they haven’t lost one since John Farrell stepped down after his lymphoma diagnosis and bench coach Torey Lovullo took the reins.
Either Lovullo has some serious skills, or the Red Sox really want to win for their full-time skipper.
#RedSox 3-0-1 in series under Torey Lovullo. They’re 8-5 with a +34 run differential.—
Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) August 27, 2015
— Both shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielder Rusney Castillo extended their hitting streaks. Bogaerts’ now is at eight games after going 2-for-3, while Castillo’s streak is at 10 games after going 1-for-4.
— Boston’s bullpen delivered for the second night in a row. Robbie Ross Jr., who’s been hit or miss in 2015, pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Junichi Tazawa didn’t show as much control and often got down in the count, but ultimately, he got out of the jam with no runs and earned the save.
— Shaw’s home run was his first on the road this season. In fact, the rookie first baseman has been pretty abysmal away from Fenway Park, as he was batting .086 in away games before Wednesday’s contest.
— The Red Sox continued their dominance over some of Major League Baseball’s best pitchers. Though Sale pitched well and got the no-decision this time, Boston lit him up for seven earned runs in their last meeting.
The Red Sox also beat Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez twice — they shelled him the second time — and took games against Oakland A’s starter Sonny Gray and the Kansas City Royals’ Johnny Cueto.
Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello pitches against the Baltimore Orioles
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