One of the bigger stories of the 2016 Red Sox season has been Rick Porcello. When Pretty Ricky takes the mound every five days, you expect Boston to win. As of right now, Porcello’s W/L record is 20-3. He’s the first pitcher in the league this season to reach twenty wins, three more wins than the next guy. This is also the first time in his career that he’s reached the twenty win mark. Porcello has seriously turned his game around since coming off of the DL for the first time in his career last season in late August. So, why has Rick performed so well this year? I have a few ideas as to why:
A few other ideas:
Since the beginning of the second half, Porcello and Price have been lights out. If the Red Sox were to play in that one wild card game, it’d easily be one of those two to get the start. I’m not sure how big this point is compared to the others, but it’s fun to debate about. I think Porcello would get the ball purely because of consistency. Price has only started to come around as of late, while Porcello has proven himself from the beginning of the year. I doubt either one of them is really thinking about this, but it should be brought up. If Boston does make the playoffs, I think that Porcello should be the number one guy. It should be Price, but if it’s me, I give Porcello the ball first.
In the last few weeks, Porcello’s coaches have praised him heavily on his preparation and all of the work he puts in between starts and before games. Third base coach Brian Butterfield recently said this about Porcello, according to Rob Bradford: “When we go over game-plans, he runs it. It’s so cool.” As a fan, you love hearing that about any guy. Knowing that he’s in control and that he’s the guy is huge for success. Manager John Farrell also recently commented on Porcello, saying that he’s “the most prepared pitcher he’s ever been around.” We all have different thoughts about Farrell, but keep in mind, he was a major league pitcher for nearly ten years, was Boston’s pitching coach for three years, and managed the Toronto Blue Jays for a while. Who knows whether or not he’s telling the truth, but it’s still great to hear. Preparation is key for any athlete who wants to succeed.
My last thought on Porcello’s success is the Dave Dombrowski connection. Dombrowski ran the show in Detroit for almost thirteen years, while Porcello pitched in Detroit for five years. Dombrowski is the one who signed Porcello in the first place back in 2009. When the Red Sox named Dombrowski the President of Baseball Operations in August of 2015, that was huge for Porcello. Boston had a huge mess in the front office, probably making everyone around the team uncomfortable, including Porcello. Having someone he knew closely come in and take the reigns must have helped out Porcello big time. When Dombrowski came in in mid-August, Rick was currently on the disabled list for the first time in his career. Having a guy like Dombrowski, considering the history between the two, had to have helped Porcello in many ways.
I don’t know how many of these are actually true, but I think they have all contributed to Porcello’s success this year in some way. What he’s done for his team has been incredible to watch. The feeling of the Red Sox when Porcello takes the mound is unlike anything else. Everyone is so confident in Rick, especially himself. That can go a long way, even more when you factor in those previous ideas. Every successful team has that one guy who comes up out of nowhere and does his job whenever he’s asked to, and Rick Porcello has been the epitome of “that guy” for the Red Sox this season.