Boston, MA - The series of off-season profiles about the members of the 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox has already chronicled the three most prominent members of the starting rotation for the team. Chris Sale, David Price, and Nathan Eovaldi undoubtedly led the charge for Boston at the top of the rotation. However, the Red Sox would not have been unable to win the title if it was not for the back half of their rotation, as well. Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez were instrumental for Boston's success. And it's a testament to the talent of the Red Sox position that Porcello finds himself in the rotation's back half despite the fact that he won a Cy Young with the team!
That was, of course, two years ago, though, when Porcello led the league in wins with twenty-two (he followed this up by leading the league in losses in 2017 with seventeen). Porcello's 2018 campaign, however, was much more measured and balanced. His record was 17-7 and he posted a 4.28 earned run average, down thirty-seven points from the prior season, along with one hundred and ninety strikeouts.
Porcello's stand out game on the season came on August 3 when the Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees by a score of 4-1. The Yankees lone run came on their lone hit as Porcello pitched a complete game one-hitter against the arch rivals. It was this level of dominance that led to manager Alex Cora showing how much faith he had in Porcello and his veteran experience when the post-season rolled around and he was employed most frequently in relief to help Boston maintain their late inning leads.
Faith was also shown in the younger Eduardo Rodriguez who has immense talent and has been hampered by injuries and control problems. After the eighteen inning slug-fest in the World Series, Rodriguez was the only pitcher who could truly start the next game. And he pitched beautifully against the Dodgers until Yasiel Puig hit a mammoth, crushing home run off Rodriguez, prompting a great deal of frustration in the younger pitcher. Cora admitted he left the pitcher in too long in the game. But Boston ended up winning it all, of course, so Rodriguez seemed to have quickly bounced back from the low moment. And with this confidence coupled with 3.24 strikeout to walk ratio in 2018 (the highest of his young career), Rodriguez will be exciting to watch in 2019!