Red Sox

Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez named Red Sox probable pitchers for London series vs. Yankees

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USA TODAY Sports photo

Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez named Red Sox probable pitchers for London series vs. Yankees

Next weekend, the Red Sox will fly across the pond to take on the Yankees in London. The two-game set will mark the first two MLB games ever to be played in Europe.

Manager Alex Cora announced on Friday the two Sox starters expected to take the hill for the much-anticipated series are Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez. The plan is for both pitchers to be on six days rest.

That means with Porcello scheduled to start this Sunday vs. the Blue Jays, the right-hander likely will open the London series on Saturday. Rodriguez will start Game 2 on Sunday.

Both hurlers have been inconsistent so far this season. Porcello currently has a 4-5 record and 5.34 ERA, while E-Rod sits at 8-4 with a 4.71 ERA.

The Yankees have not yet announced their starting pitchers for the series.

First pitch for Saturday's matchup is set for 1:10 p.m. ET. Sunday's game will start bright and early at 10:10 a.m. ET.

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Mike Yastrzemski matches his grandfather with a 3-HR game

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Mike Yastrzemski matches his grandfather with a 3-HR game

Seventy games into his major league career, Mike Yastrzemski has matched his Hall of Fame grandfather in one category.

Three-homer games.

The younger Yaz went deep three times, including a go-ahead solo blast in the 11th inning, to lead the San Francisco Giants to a wild, 10-9 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night in Phoenix.

The Red Sox legend played 3,308 major league games and the only three-homer game of his career came in his 15th season, on May 19, 1976, at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.

Here's a look at Mike Yaz's handiwork in a game where the teams combined to hit 12 homers, just the second time in major league history that's happened. 

A solo shot in the third...

A two-run homer in the seventh...

And what proved to be the winner in the 11th:

Mike Yastrzemski, 28, called up May 25, has 16 homers, 45 RBI (including four Friday night) and is hitting .272. The Giants (62-61) are 2 1/2 games out of the NL's second wild-card spot.

Drafted in the 36th round by the Red Sox in 2009 out of St. John's Prep in Danvers, Mass., Yastrzemski, a left-handed hitting outfielder like his grandfather (but a left-handed thrower), didn't sign, went to Vanderbilt and was drafted in the 14th round by the Orioles in 2013. After six years in the minors with Baltimore, he was traded to the Giants this past March.

Even before the third homer, the MLB Network noted that Mike Yaz was off to a better start in his first 261 plate appearances than grandpa, who hit .266 with 11 homers and 80 RBI as a Red Sox rookie in 1961. 

The Giants come to Fenway Park for a three-game series Sept. 17-19.

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Rick Porcello's Red Sox career is likely winding down, so let's salute what he has meant to the team

Rick Porcello's Red Sox career is likely winding down, so let's salute what he has meant to the team

BOSTON -- Let's just get this out of the way -- under no circumstances should the Red Sox make Rick Porcello a qualifying offer.

He'd be crazy not to sign the one-year, $18 million tender on the spot, in his own blood if he has to, and the team desperately needs to upgrade his spot in the rotation, since Chris Sale ($145 million), David Price ($96 million), Nathan Eovaldi ($51 million), and Eduardo Rodriguez (cheap) aren't going anywhere.

That leaves Porcello as the odd man out, and his performance certainly hasn't merited the extension a number of us believed he deserved before the season (raises hand). He entered his start vs. Friday night vs. the Orioles ranked 68th out of 69 qualified starters in ERA (5.67), and there's nothing misleading about that stat. He has pitched poorly.

We're not here to crush him, however. He has done plenty of that to himself, not to mention dugout flat screens. Instead, with his Red Sox career presumably winding to a close, let us salute his rocky, rollercoaster, and ultimately rewarding tenure.

The Red Sox acquired him in December of 2014 for Yoenis Cespedes and then signed him to a four-year, $82.5 million extension on the eve of the season. Porcello rewarded the faith of GM Ben Cherington by going 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA, which contributed to Cherington being relieved of his job that August.

In came Dave Dombrowski, who had shown no interest in extending Porcello with the Tigers. Whatever skepticism Dombrowski may have harbored, the right-hander dispelled it -- and made Cherington's decision look far more prescient -- by delivering one of the most unlikely Cy Young seasons in recent memory.

Porcello went 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA, leading the AL in strikeout-to-walk ratio and claiming the trophy that no one saw coming.

He followed in 2017 with another cannonball into the toilet, leading the AL in losses (17) and tying a Red Sox record by allowing 38 home runs.

But still he persevered and in 2018 he not only won 17 games as a stable No. 3 starter, he also manned up in the postseason with a pair of pivotal relief outings. When the Red Sox hoisted the World Series trophy, they could point to Porcello as one of the leaders of not just the staff, but the entire clubhouse. Not bad for a guy who looked like a bust in year one, but now would love nothing more than to stay in Boston.

That brings us to Friday night. Porcello gutted out six innings of one-run ball against the Orioles. He wasn't overpowering (one swing and miss), but he kept the ball in the park for the first time in eight starts and survived some hard contact (six balls hit at least 90 mph) to keep the O's in check.

There's no sense in pretending Baltimore is a threat on any side of the ball, but the Orioles had hit Porcello hard in two prior starts, totaling nine runs in nine innings. In the course of beating them on Friday, he crossed the 2,000-inning threshold for his career, a meaningful milestone for a pitcher who considers reliability his calling card.

"Definitely very proud of that," Porcello said. "It's been a tough year, but this is kind of a night where I can look back and say 

I got 6,000 outs in the big leagues and not many people can say they did that. I'm very proud of that and a lot of people have helped me and supported me along the way to be able to get through it, to 2,000 innings. I'm just fortunate enough to be able to stay healthy and do it. It's a nice night and a little side note and a nice little accomplishment."

Manager Alex Cora saluted Porcello and noted the role he'll need to play if the Red Sox are to drag themselves back into contention.

"Two thousand innings at this level, you don't do that just being lucky," Cora said. "You've got to work, and you've got to grind. . . . He was good for us last year. He won a Cy Young before. So, he can put a streak of quality starts just like Chris and the rest of the guys and help us pull this off."

 

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