Boston Red Sox starter Rick Porcello has had a rough season. His 5.55 earned run average entering Wednesday night’s start is a career-worst; his WHIP is the highest it’s been in going on four seasons in Boston; his strikeouts per nine innings are the lowest they’ve been since 2015. To make matters worse, the situation is trending in the wrong direction—over his last six starts prior to Wednesday night, Porcello’s ERA is a gruesome 9.31. It’s a remarkably persuasive testament to the uselessness of wins and losses as a measure of pitcher performance that Porcello has gone 4–1 over that stretch.
Anyway, the guy is frustrated, as he explained to the Boston Globe Wednesday. He’s identified some mechanical issues—stuck hands, late arm action, getting under the ball—and is working to “hammer down that muscle memory” in order to get his old, natural delivery back. But it’s slow going, and the process is not very enjoyable:
“I can’t tell you how frustrating it is,” said Porcello. “But that’s pitching. There’s always maintenance to be had. There’s always adjustments to make. There’s things you have to stay on top of. If it was easy, you’d see a lot of guys being able to do it year after year. It’s not easy.”
Just hours after giving those quotes, Porcello took the mound in a start against the Rays. His first inning was rocky—Ji-man Choi led off with a double, and Travis d’Arnaud singled him home—but Porcello escaped having allowed just one run on 18 pitches. Not ideal, but also no big deal! Suffice to say, that is not a sentiment that is shared by Porcello, who was frustrated enough to bash to death a pair of innocent mounted televisions in the Red Sox dugout.
Well, it’s an indicator of just how much passion he’s got for what he does. Yes, that is certainly one way of describing it. To no one’s great surprise, punching a pair of televisions did not move the needle in the right direction, performance-wise, and Porcello’s ERA after this outing will continue skyward. Porcello gave up two dingers, one a three-run job, in the second inning. For God’s sake, please do not let him anywhere near any more televisions.