Red Sox

Porcello emerging as true ace of Red Sox staff

Porcello emerging as true ace of Red Sox staff

BOSTON -- Last offseason, the Red Sox made landing a certified No. 1 starter their top priority. They lavished David Price with a $217 million contract and proclaimed their rotation issues to be fixed.

But maybe they had their No. 1 starter on the staff all along.

While Price has underperformed -- with a bloated 4.34 ERA and the most hits allowed of any pitcher in the big leagues -- Rick Porcello has emerged as the Red Sox most reliable, losing-streak-stopping starter.

Maybe the 3.40 ERA doesn't shout "Ace!'' But Porcello has otherwise been everything you look for in a front-of-the-rotation force. After a terrific outing Tuesday in which he allowed two runs in eight innings in the Red Sox' 5-3 win over the Yankees, Porcello is now 15-3. More impressive, he's 7-1 in games following a Red Sox loss.

And really, isn't that the very measure of a No. 1 starter? Isn't that the quality you value above all others when it comes to a true ace?

Some numbers can be misleading -- pitcher's won-loss records, most notably -- but surely it suggest something that the Red Sox are 17-6 in Porcello's 23 starts. And that he -- and the team -- are undefeated at home when he pitches.

He doesn't have eye-popping strikeout numbers, averaging 7.5 per nine innings. But for a pitcher known for allowing contact, he's fashioned a superb 1.079 WHIP, evidence that he's keeping runners off base.

Only once in his 23 starts has he issued more than two walks. In 16 of them, he's walked one or none. When he lost last week in Seattle -- allowing only theee runs in his second straight complete game -- it marked his first loss since the middle of May.

Consistent. Dependable. Efficient.

What's more, Porcello seems to be getting better as the season progresses. Since June 28, about the halfway point in the schedule, he's 7-1 with a 2.53 ERA.

He's routinely going deeper into games, too. In his last three starts, he's pitched 25 of a possible 27 innings.

But no number better reflects Porcello's value than his 7-1 record in games following Red Sox defeats.

"It's huge for us to bounce back and not let a loss or two losses turn into three, four or five,'' said Porcello. "It's definitely big for our team and allows us to get good momentum going instead of kind of losing games and falling into those slumps.

"You're aware of the situation we're all in as a team (when we've lost the previous game), especially, getting into August and September coming up. We can't afford to drop too many games in a row. [The awareness] is definitley there. We know we have to play to win and the urgency is there. I don't try to let it affect me when I'm out there (on the mound) but it's definitely something that we all know.''

The postseason is still some six weeks away, and who knows how that plays out for the Red Sox. But it's perhaps not too early to begin the debate about whom the team would pick to start a winner-take-all wild card game.

From here, the choice wouldn't be Price, the No. 1, in name only, but rather Porcello, who's actually performed like one.

Red Sox minor leaguer Oscar Hernandez suspended for second positive drug test

Red Sox minor leaguer Oscar Hernandez suspended for second positive drug test

Red Sox minor league catcher Oscar Hernandez has been handed a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse, our own Evan Drellich reports.

Hernandez signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox in January and currently is on the Triple-A Pawtucket roster. The 24-year-old will be able to return in late May.





Wright suspended 15 games for violation of domestic-violence policy

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Wright suspended 15 games for violation of domestic-violence policy

Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright will be suspended 15 games for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy, NBC Sports Boston has learned. The league is set to make the announcement Friday.

Wright, working his way back from right knee surgery, has to serve the suspension when healthy. Potential time on the disabled list to begin the season would not count. Wright is not expected to appeal.

Wright was arrested at his Tennessee home in December following an incident involving his wife, Shannon. Wright was charged with domestic assault and preventing a 911 call, which are misdemeanors in Tennessee, and released on a $2,500 bond.

The case in December was retired by the Williamson County courthouse. If Wright commits no other offenses for a 12-month span, the charges are expected to be dropped.

Fifteen games matches the lowest suspension MLB has given out in relation to a domestic violence case since the league and players union agreed to a policy in 2015. Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia was suspended 15 games in March 2017.

"It's a situation that, it sucks not only for me, but for my family, for the team," Wright told reporters in Florida on Thursday. "But I try not to think about it. When MLB comes out with their discipline, or if there's going to be discipline or not, it's just going to go from there."

Wright said this spring that he did not harm his wife.

“We’ve been going to counseling. We’ve been working through it,” Wright said. “We’ve been trying to do as much as we can to put it past us, but it’s hard. Because MLB is doing their investigation and it’s in the limelight. It’s really hard on a personal level to get past something that’s constantly being thrown at you. But I did it to myself. It’s one of those things that I’ve got to live with the consequences that came from my actions that night.”