Rick Porcello’s 2019 season did not go as planned, but he made sure to end the season on a high note.
The former Cy Young Award winner collected his 13th victory Wednesday in his final start of the year. After giving up three first-inning runs, Porcello settled down to throw five consecutive scoreless frames, retiring the last 11 batters he faced in Boston’s 10-3 win over the Texas Rangers.
Among his eight strikeouts was the righty’s 1,500th career punch-out, a nice accolade to add to his season finale. Manager Alex Cora was happy to see Porcello end his season on a positive note.
“Good rhythm, a lot of conviction behind his pitches,” Cora said as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “He did an outstanding job against a lineup that has a lot of lefties and that’s been tough for him throughout the season. For him to go six and allow only three, that was a great performance.”
It very well could be his last start in a Red Sox uniform, and Cora discussed that following the win, referencing Porcello’s professionalism through the roller-coaster season.
“It’s always good,” Cora said on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Like we talk about it in spring training, we know that because of the nature of the business, not everybody’s going to be together. He’s a free agent, we don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’re very proud of what he’s done throughout his years here.”
Cora continued his praise, citing Porcello’s work ethic, no matter the scenario.
“This is a guy that for me, he means a lot, not only on the field what he did last year and the way he fought this year, but in the clubhouse. He’s one of those guys that I rely on. It’s good to see him finishing the season this way. It’s kind of like a teaching moment for a lot of young guys in that clubhouse. Regardless of how good or how bad you struggle over 162 games, preparation and going about it the right way, it’s very important. From day one … it’s been a grind, but he kept working at it. … We like those kind of players. Those are the kind of players we want in our organization.”
Porcello didn’t shy away from showing love toward the Red Sox following the win. He recognized that there’s plenty of unknowns in the future, but the right-hander certainly is grateful for his time in Boston.
“From the bottom of my heart it’s been an absolute pleasure to wear this uniform and pitch for the Red Sox organization for the last five years,” Porcello said after the game as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “For Mr. (John) Henry, Mr. (Tom) Warner, all these guys, our coaching staff, all these players — this is as good of a group as you’re going to find. I know this year hasn’t worked out the way we wanted to, but it doesn’t take away from the special human beings in this clubhouse.”
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Rangers game:
— Rafael Devers collected his 52nd double Wednesday night, giving him the most doubles by a Red Sox third baseman in a single season.
He also smoked his 32nd homer of the year, which is the most ever by a Sox third baseman. Devers sits at 196 (!) hits heading into Thursday’s series finale.
— Mitch Moreland went 4-for-5 in the win to extend his five-game hitting streak, smacking his 19th bomb of the season along the way.
The first baseman’s fifth 20-home run season of his career is very much in play with four games remaining.
— Christian Vazquez smacked a two-run bomb Wednesday, but exited the game following the home run due to tightness in his hamstring. Cora shared an update after the win, saying that the catcher should be ready to play in the season finale on Sunday.
“He’s doing OK,” Cora said. “He got tight a little bit. … He’ll be ready probably for Sunday.”
Vazquez already was scheduled for an off day Thursday, and Cora likely will want him to catch Eduardo Rodriguez on Sunday when the left-hander goes for win No. 20.
— The Red Sox play their final road game of the season Thursday in an afternoon series finale with the Rangers. First pitch is set for 2:05 p.m. ET.