Rick Porcello pitched not only his best game of the season Tuesday, but the best of any Boston Red Sox starter so far this season.
The right-hander turned in eight shutout innings, giving up just two hits and as many walks with eight strikeouts in a 5-1 win over the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park.
Porcello is the first Red Sox starter to pitch into the eighth inning, and has really turned things around in his last three outings. Porcello has gone 2-0 with a 2.29 ERA in that stretch, a huge improvement from his first three starts when he turned in an 0-3 record with a whopping 11.12 ERA.
“He was unbelievable,” Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland told NESN’s Guerin Austin after the game, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “It seemed like he just cruised all night … working both sides of the plate. Great night by him which led to a great night for us.”
Their manager echoed his comments.
“He was outstanding tonight,” Alex Cora said during NESN’s postgame coverage. “… He gave us something we needed.”
Porcello has been vocal about his relationship with catcher Sandy Leon, and when asked about Porcello’s reliance on his slider, the skipper said it’s between the pitcher and catcher.
“They prepare, they talk about it … they come up with the game plan,” Cora said. “He had a good fastball today, too. Good feel for the slider … got them off balance, was able to put them away. It was a good one.”
Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Red Sox-Athletics game:
— Mookie Betts has been hot at the plate recently, and upped his numbers with a first-inning home run.
He also joined some pretty elite company with his dinger.
— The reigning American League MVP was off to a rough start, but Cora said Betts made some adjustments recently, and the results are there to prove it.
“He made some adjustments, he’s been in the cage working hard. He’s staying in the zone, and putting good swings on it,” Cora said. “Hitting the ball out of the ballpark (to) straight center, that’s a perfect swing right there, and he’s always looking for that. He got into some bad habits after the Seattle series and he kept working … he’s a guy regardless if he was hitting .380 or .180 he’s gonna put in the work. And you can see the results.”
— Moreland’s team-leading eighth home run came in the fourth inning.
— The Red Sox won the series with the victory, marking the first series they’ve won this season at Fenway Park.
Their first series win at any ballpark was against Tampa Bay Rays, when Boston swept them at Tropicana Field. Boston also has won four of its last six games.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images