Porcello made his Grapefruit League debut Sunday, giving up two runs on four hits while striking out one over three innings against Tampa Bay. Porcello gave up a pair of solo home runs but was pleased to finally test himself against major-league hitters. "The same things I try to work on every spring: get comfortable with my delivery, feel the things I want to feel with that, get to executing pitches - that was my goal today," Porcello told Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. "I felt like I did a pretty good job of that. They hit the two home runs and a couple other balls that were hit hard, but the location on those pitches were halfway decent. I'll look at that and go from there, but overall, it was good." Until now, he's been getting his work in during bullpens, live batting practice sessions and simulated games. Porcello has enough time left in spring training to get three more starts before the regular season gets underway March 28.
Porcello is scheduled to make his spring debut Sunday against the Rays, Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com reports. The Red Sox have held their top starters back from spring competition, preferring they get their work in on the back fields and in batting practice. Porcello will be the first of the rotation's top four starters to face MLB hitters in a game environment. The right-hander brings a five-pitch mix to every start, so he can adjust frequently when one of the pitches isn't working. Porcello posted a 4.28 ERA in 33 starts last season.
Porcello has been testing out a two-seam changeup grip that he learned from Eduardo Rodriguez this spring, Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reports. Porcello already counted a changeup as part of his arsenal, throwing the pitch 11.7 percent of the time last season, though it's hardly been a weapon and has graded out as a slight negative or worse in three of the last four seasons. Rodriguez's changeup, on the other hand, has graded out as his best offering over the course of his four-year career. There's no guarantee that the pitch will work out for Porcello, but an improved arsenal could potentially help him stand out from a large group of steady but unspectacular starters. He'll test the tweaked offering out for the first time this spring when he makes his Grapefruit League debut Sunday versus the Rays, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe.
Manager Alex Cora said Porcello will start Game 3 of the World Series against the Dodgers on Friday, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Porcello will get the ball for Game 3 after Nathan Eovaldi was used in relief during each of the first two games of the series. The right-hander owns a 4.22 ERA and 6:1 K:BB through four postseason appearances (two starts, 10.2 innings). In his most recent start, Porcello was tagged for four runs on seven hits -- including a pair of homers -- in four innings against the Astros in the ALCS.
Porcello gave up four runs on seven hits with one walk over four innings in a no-decision against the Astros in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. He struck out three. Porcello worked in and out of trouble through his four innings, but ultimately two long balls from George Springer and Tony Kemp sealed his fate in Game 4. The right-hander allowed one run, no walks and five hits in his first three appearances of the postseason, but this outing raised his ERA in the playoffs to 7.20.