Red Sox Notes: First-Inning Struggles Continue To Haunt Rick Porcello

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Rick Porcello had a magnificent 2016 season, but he has failed to replicate that so far during the 2017 campaign.

The Boston Red Sox right-hander struggled during a 7-1 loss to the Houston Astros on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park. The 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner gave up seven runs in six innings while striking out three and walking two.

With the loss, Porcello falls to 3-9 on the season, and his first-inning struggles have been a big reason for his rough start.

Coming into Saturday’s game against the AL-leading Astros, the righty had a first-inning ERA of 5.14, and those early troubles continued at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros jumped on Porcello early as George Springer led off the game with a ringing double, and Marwin Gonzalez reached on a well-placed bunt. Jose Altuve followed with an RBI double. Porcello surrendered three runs in the first inning and struggled to locate his pitches.

The righty continued to have shaky command during the third inning when he gave up long home runs to Altuve and Carlos Beltran.

Porcello’s ERA now sits at 5.05 after Saturday night, and he has given up at least 10 hits in five of his 15 starts this season, including four of his last six. Over his last eight starts, Porcello has a 6.02 ERA while allowing hitters to slug .580 against him. The righty has given up 76 hits in his last 49 1/3 innings.

The talented right-hander is a key piece to Boston’s starting rotation, and with injuries to Eduardo Rodriguez and Brian Johnson, the Red Sox will need Porcello to right the ship and settle into the No. 2 spot in the rotation.

Let’s take a look at more notes from Red Sox vs. Astros.

— Third baseman Pablo Sandoval started Saturday’s game on the bench, and manager John Farrell revealed Sandoval has been trying to play with a knee brace that he has worn since returning from the 10-day disabled list.

— Farrell also told the media the Red Sox will recall an infielder following Monday’s game against the Kansas City Royals. Boston can’t recall Deven Marrero, as he has to spend at leat 10 days in the minor leagues before being recalled unless a player goes on the disabled list. Sam Travis and Steve Selsky are likely candidates to be called up.

— The Red Sox have scored three runs in their last 27 innings.

— Houston native Chris Young homered Saturday and now is hitting .406 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs in his career at Minute Maid Park.

Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images

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