Rick Porcello posted his best start in months Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays. But instead of coming away with a win, the Boston Red Sox fell 5-4 in extra innings, leaving the right-hander with a no-decision.
The loss serves as a microcosm of Boston’s disappointing campaign, where the Red Sox have failed to get everything simultaneously clicking. A good start is joined by a lack of run support, while solid offensive performances aren’t supported by strong pitching. On Friday, it was a combination of quiet bats and struggling relievers that led to Boston’s latest loss.
Despite the bullpen’s ugly seventh-inning implosion, Porcello’s start deserves some recognition, and Alex Cora noted that following the game.
Porcello gave up just three hits over six shutout innings with six strikeouts Friday. It’s the first time he hasn’t given up a run since June 17 against the Minnesota Twins, but the right-hander has given the Red Sox quality starts of late, which the skipper recognized.
“His last two (starts), he’s been very solid,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Fastball command has been great. The changeup to lefties and righties has been outstanding. The tempo — great. He’s been working hard at it. Regardless of the position we’re in obviously and how many games we have left, he’s still trying to improve, and you appreciate that as a manager. … He’s been amazing.”
It hasn’t been a favorable year for Porcello, but as Cora noted, he’s been a professional through the ups and downs.
The right-hander piggybacked Cora’s emphasis on his improved starts of late when he spoke to the media after the loss.
“I feel like my last two (starts) I’ve gotten back to doing some of the things I do and I do well,” Porcello said. “We’re going to build off of it. We’re having a little bit of success right now so — keep going.”
Porcello now is 13-12 with a 5.56 ERA in 31 starts this season.
Here are some other notes from Friday’s Red Sox-Rays game:
— The Red Sox officially were eliminated from the postseason after the Cleveland Indians defeated the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.
This follows a recent trend, as 10 of the last 18 World Series winners have missed the postseason the following season, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.
— Cora said Boston will learn from its disappointing season and move forward.
“I mean we’re disappointed,” Cora said. “It wasn’t a great season and we’re going to learn from it and we’re going to be better. That’s the bottom line. … Other teams were better. New York, Tampa in our division. They’ve done an outstanding job.”
— Mitch Moreland collected his first two-home run game since 2017 in the loss.
The two bombs provided Boston with its only run support Friday.
— Travis Lakins will start Saturday vs. the Rays, per NESN’s Guerin Austin.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images