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Frustrated Porcello smashes dugout TV monitors

Red Sox right-hander struggles, allows 3 homers in loss to Rays
@IanMBrowne
August 1, 2019

BOSTON – In what has been a frustrating season for Rick Porcello, Boston’s veteran right-hander boiled over early in the Red Sox's 8-5 loss to the Rays on Wednesday night at Fenway Park. In the first inning, Porcello gave up a run. And as the veteran right-hander walked back to

BOSTON – In what has been a frustrating season for Rick Porcello, Boston’s veteran right-hander boiled over early in the Red Sox's 8-5 loss to the Rays on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.

In the first inning, Porcello gave up a run. And as the veteran right-hander walked back to the clubhouse after the inning, he smashed two television monitors just below the dugout steps with his hands.

Box score

“It's a reaction of frustration,” Porcello said. “It's not behavior I condone. Obviously, everybody gets frustrated. I kind of wish I did that without cameras being on me. I apologize to everyone that had to see that. It's not behavior that I feel like is representative of me and my personality. My frustration got the best of me, so I apologize for that and anybody that had to watch that.”

On a day Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski decided to stand pat at the Trade Deadline, pressure intensified for the starting rotation to start performing up to expectations. By doing so, it would take pressure off the bullpen, which has been asked to do too much all season.

But Porcello -- the first man up after the Deadline passed -- was not up to the task. In 5 2/3 innings, he was tagged for six runs on nine hits, including three home runs. He walked one and struck out seven.

Nearly all of the damage against Porcello came in the second, when he gave up four runs on a pair of homers, including a three-run blast by Austin Meadows.

This was the fourth time in Porcello’s last six starts that he’s given up six earned runs.

“There's no doubt it's been frustrating,” Porcello said. “I haven't been able to be effective for us pretty much all year now. I care about this team. I care about the game, and I care about what I'm doing a lot. When that's not happening, it's tough to swallow. You put a lot of work into it and you go out there every five days and give it up and put our team in a tough spot, it's frustrating. That's the simplest way I could put it.”

Has manager Alex Cora given any thought to skipping Porcello in the rotation?

“Not where we’re at right now,” Cora said. “It’s tough. I know we had that off-day [Monday], but obviously, we have that doubleheader on Saturday, and it’s one of those that he has struggles early and he finds his stride. We just have to figure out early on how we can navigate the first few innings. You saw the rhythm after that.”

Rhythm has been an elusive thing for the 2019 Red Sox. Only three days ago, they were surging with momentum after taking the first three games of a four-game series against the Yankees.

Suddenly, they’ve fallen back again, losing three in a row to lose ground in the American League Wild Card race. Chris Sale, David Price and Porcello all struggled in those defeats.

“[Porcello] knows, everybody knows, what we have to do,” Cora said. “It’s August now, and we know where we’re at -- we’re in a big hole. We’ve got to play a lot better.”

Porcello (9-8, 5.74 ERA) made some mechanical adjustments over the last week and beat the Yankees in his previous start. Maybe those adjustments kicked back in when he held the Rays scoreless from the third through fifth innings.

The key will be for Porcello to figure out how to lock in for a full start.

Then again, Porcello isn’t alone. Sale and Price need to do the same thing. Otherwise, Boston’s hope of defending its World Series championship will end before October even starts.

“They compete, no doubt about it,” Cora said. “We just haven’t executed. I expect these guys to pitch well. I keep saying, they’ve done it all through their careers and we expect them to pitch better. In between starts, they’re working hard and trying to make adjustments. The last three have been a struggle for us but we expect them to go back and get on the mound and dominate.”

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.