A year after generating the ire of Boston's baseball followers, Rick Porcello won the AL Cy Young award and a league-high 22 games. Sure, he had a league-high support of 6.61 runs per game in his starts, but much of this was for real. He accented his career-best ERA by striking out 5.91 batters to every walk, and he posted his best control rate thanks in large part to a stellar first-strike percentage (64.2). He stopped throwing the four-seamer as often, something coaches harped on him about in 2015. Still, many pitfalls remain, including his underwhelming ability to overpower hitters and a dwindling groundball rate. That 3.89 xFIP and .269 BABIP showed how much good fortune he enjoyed, as well. Though he'll remain a useful fantasy arm, he doesn't boast the profile of a mixed-league ace or even a solid SP2.
Porcello is the 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner. The award caps a stunning turnaround for Porcello, who went from a 4.92 ERA in 2015 to leading the majors in wins and strikeout-to-walk ratio. Curiously, Porcello won mostly thanks to 18 second-place votes. Justin Verlander received six more first-place votes, but was left off two ballots and ended up losing by only five points in one of the closest ever races. Still, Porcello is a deserving recipient.
Porcello will start Game 4 of the ALDS, if necessary, against the Indians, Ian Browne of MLB.com reports. Porcello pitched the opening game of the series, but allowed five runs on three homers in 4.1 innings on his way to taking the loss. Boston finds themselves in a 2-0 hole in the ALDS so they will need to win Monday's Game 3 to force another contest Tuesday, but a rainout earlier in the series will allow Porcello to take the hill on regular rest for Game 4 should the series be extended.
Porcello will start Game 1 of the ALDS against the Indians, Jensen Lewis of Fox Sports reports. Since the All-Star break, Porcello has posted a 2.62 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, bringing his marks down 3.15 and 1.01 for the year, both of which are the lowest of his career. He'll face off against a Cleveland club that owns the leagues fifth-highest scoring offense.
Porcello allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out six over six innings in Friday night's win over Toronto. Porcello finishes the regular season with a 22-4 record and a career-high and league-leading 5.91 K:BB ratio. As Boston's best pitcher this season, manager John Farrell has him lined up to start Game 1 of the Division Series against Cleveland.
Porcello (22-4) continued his storybook season in a 6-4 victory over the Rays on Saturday, striking out nine and giving up three earned runs and a walk on eight hits over 6.1 innings. The ace right-hander fired a robust 116 pitches, with 80 of them finding the strike zone. All of Porcello's troubles were in the third inning, when he surrendered a two-RBI double to Brad Miller and a run-scoring single to Corey Dickerson. The 27-year-old has rattled off victories in eight of his last nine decisions and given up no more than three earned runs in 11 straight outings. He'll look to close out his Cy Young-caliber campaign with another win next Friday versus the Blue Jays.