Rick Porcello

Game 80 Recap: Blue Jays 11, Red Sox 2

The hits just keep coming… against Rick Porcello.

Top Play (WPA): The top seven plays in the game all involved Porcello, took place in the first or second inning, and sealed the game in Toronto’s favor early. The top overall play went to Edwin Encarnacion on his three-run homer (.165) that began the scoring in Porcello’s nightmare outing. That was followed up by a two-run shot by Justin Smoak (.093) before another out was recorded. Although Smoak’s home run, along with the next six runs scored by Toronto, proved to be unnecessary, as the Red Sox offense could only muster two runs of their own in the game.

Bottom Play (WPA): On the bright side, it wasn’t all bad for Porcello (what am I saying, yes it was). But he did manage to strike out three batters in two innings, including Jose Bautista for the first out of the game, producing the bottom play of this contest (-.052). On the other hand, 16 of the next 20 lowest plays by WPA were made by Red Sox hitters.

Key Moment: The key moment was pretty simply the entire first inning. Encarnacion drove in more runs with one out in the first than the Red Sox would score all day. But Porcello continued to give up runs, never even giving his offense a chance.

Trends to Watch: What’s up with Porcello? His strikeout and walk rates are pretty similar to his career numbers—the strikeout rate is actually up slightly—but his other numbers, especially his home run rate, have gone in the negative direction. He’s now given up 16 long balls on the season, which ties the amount he gave up in 2012 over 176 1/3 innings. Every other season besides his rookie year, he gave up exactly 18, which he’s looking to sail past in his next outing at the current rate. He is just 26 years old with six mostly successful seasons under his belt, including his best last year, which leads me to my initial question: What’s up with Porcello? Obviously, not even the Red Sox have an answer for that, but you can bet they’re busy searching, trying to make good on their $82.5-million investment.

Mike Napoli fell below .200 yet again with an 0-for-4 performance and another two strikeouts. Seems to be one step forward, two steps back with him all season. Much like Porcello, you have got to wonder if it’s time for the Red Sox to make a move with Napoli. For Porcello that would likely mean a DL trip, which could be the case with Napoli, but they could also decide it’s time to move on altogether. On a positive note, Hanley Ramirez returned to the lineup in left field and stroked his first triple of the season, which is four less than Alejandro De Aza now has after adding one of his own in this game. #YearOfTheTriple

Defensive wiz Deven Marrero made the first major league start of his career, getting the nod at second base with Brock Holt getting the day off. Unsurprisingly, he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout, as he is known much more for his glove than his bat. He was batting .245 with four home runs in Pawtucket, playing mostly shortstop, where he has elite tools. He already made a game-saving play in his major league debut on Sunday. Marrero has some work to do with the bat, but has a high floor with a chance to be a major league starter.

Coming Next
: The Red Sox face the Blue Jays for one more game tonight in Toronto as Wade Miley squares off against left-handed rookie Matt Boyd. In his first major league start, Boyd went 6 2/3 innings against Texas, allowing four runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts. Boston heads home to face the Houston Astros for a weekend series starting Friday.

Photo by Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports Images

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