The wheels could have fallen off at any point for Rick Porcello on Monday.
Before the right-hander even took the mound at Camden Yards, he had to go back into the clubhouse due to a rain delay. And with two down in the bottom half of the third, Porcello again had to head down the tunnel, with a second rain delay stopping play.
But dialed in he was, turning in a solid performance in the Boston Red Sox’s 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
It wasn’t like Porcello completely stifled the Orioles lineup, but he did more than enough to effectively shut them down. He tossed six scoreless innings, allowing six hits and as many strikeouts with one walk, throwing 90 pitches. He allowed at least one runner to reach each inning, but he had no issue working his way out of jams to give the Sox offense plenty of leeway to hold up their end of the bargain.
Porcello’s next-level competitive nature has been well-documented, and that was abundantly clear in Monday’s game. So much so that when Sox manager Alex Cora saw the forecasted weather for the game, he was at peace knowing he had the right-hander on the mound.
“He was great,” Cora said after the game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Tough game with the delays and all that. I knew going into the game it was going to be something like that and out of all the guys, he can handle that. He’s a guy where we ask him to go deep into the games when we’re short in the bullpen, and it happens that he was pitching today and I felt comfortable with the conditions (knowing) that he was on the mound”
The win brings Porcello’s record to 12-4 while dropping his ERA back under four, as it now sits at 3.93.
Here are some other notes from Monday’s Red Sox-Orioles game:
— The Red Sox continue to sit atop Major League Baseball in terms of wins, with Monday’s victory upping their win count to 71.
The New York Yankees, meanwhile, fell in ugly fashion to the Tampa Bay Rays. With the Yankees’ loss, the Red Sox now have a comfortable six-game advantage over New York for the top spot in the American League East.
— When the Red Sox called up Ryan Brasier from Triple-A Pawtucket, Cora made clear that he thought the 30-year-old’s stuff would play well at the big league level.
It’s safe to say it has so far, with the most recent example coming Monday as Brasier struck out two and allowed one hit in a scoreless seventh inning. Brasier has yet to allow a run in seven innings of work over six outings. In the top flight this season, he has allowed just three hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts.
With uncertainty surrounding Joe Kelly and Tyler Thornburg, Brasier could prove to be a pretty important arm for Boston down the stretch.
— At this point, it is little surprise when Jackie Bradley Jr. makes a magnificent catch.
In the latest example, he tracked down a ball in center field that had a 98-percent hit probability, but he made the grab hardly look difficult.
Following the game, Cora was as stunned as the rest of us when reacting to the center fielder’s stellar grab.
“I throw my hands in the air like wow,” Cora said. “I keep saying he’s the best defensive center fielder in the big leagues and I think playing at Fenway doesn’t help him as far as metrics and all that. But when you see him on a daily basis, the plays he makes and playing the balls in the gaps and keeping guys at first when they should have doubles … he’s a complete player.”
Thumbnail photo via Mitch Stringer/USA TODAY Sports Images
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