Right-hander Rick Porcello takes the mound Wednesday for what could be his final start for the Red Sox as Boston faces the Texas Rangers in the second contest of a three-game series at Arlington, Texas.
Porcello (13-12, 5.56 ERA) will be a free agent at season’s end, a potential end to his five-year run in Boston that included an American League Cy Young Award in 2016. He’ll get the ball opposite Rangers rookie left-hander Kolby Allard (4-1, 4.25).
Porcello dazzled in his last start, holding the Tampa Bay Rays to three hits over six scoreless innings and striking out six. Ending the season on a high note would be a boon to the 30-year-old as he puts a bow on the worst year of his 11-season career.
“There aren’t too many things that happen year to year that you don’t end up learning from,” Porcello told WEEI.com. “This is a new situation for me. I definitely learned a lot in the offseason, coming into the year and throughout the course of the season.”
Before his rough season began, Porcello told WEEI, his agent approached the Red Sox about an extension as his four-year, $82.5 million contract was coming to a close. Porcello’s 5.56 ERA is second worst among all qualified starters in the majors, and he is expected to hit the market as Boston already has Chris Sale, David Price and Nathan Eovaldi locked into big-money deals.
Perhaps leading the rotation for the Red Sox (82-75) next year will be young Eduardo Rodriguez, who picked up his 19th victory Tuesday despite struggling in Boston’s 12-10 win over Texas. Manager Alex Cora stuck with Rodriguez over five innings, though the left-hander was tagged for a season-high seven runs on a season-high 11 hits.
J.D. Martinez had two hits and three RBIs to lead the charge on offense, and Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. each drove in a pair of runs. Mookie Betts hit his 29th home run early in the slugfest but wound up exiting in the third inning after banging his toe against the wall playing the outfield.
“He’ll get (Wednesday) off,” Cora said. “I don’t know if he plays Thursday, but hopefully he’ll be ready to play during the weekend at home.”
With the defeat Tuesday, the Rangers (75-82) assured themselves their third straight losing campaign. Texas held a 15-14 edge in hits in the contest, Elvis Andrus and Isiah Kiner-Falefa with three apiece and Rougned Odor and Scott Heineman each driving in three runs.
“When you give extra outs, you can see what happens with a team like that,” said Rangers manager Chris Woodward, his club committing two errors among other blips in the field. “They take advantage of it. We just came up a little short at the end.”
Allard took his first loss of the season his last time out, surrendering two runs on four hits over five innings against the Houston Astros. The 22-year-old has a 7.36 ERA in three starts at home with Texas compared to 2.60 in five on the road.
Allard will face the Red Sox for the first time. Porcello is 7-4 with a 4.94 ERA in 13 career starts against the Rangers, including a no-decision on June 12, when he allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings.
–Field Level Media