'Tough run' continues for Porcello
Red Sox righty laments inability to execute pitches
TORONTO -- Rick Porcello saw his winless streak reach eight starts as he lasted only two innings while giving up a season-high three homers in the Red Sox's 11-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday at Rogers Centre.
The right-hander has lost his past seven decisions and hasn't pitched more than 6 1/3 innings in any of his previous five outings. With Wednesday's loss, he fell to 4-9 with a 6.08 ERA.
"It's been a tough run for him," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "About an eight-start stretch where he continues to battle. But his approach in between starts doesn't change, his preparation doesn't change, and yet the results for the work put in is not there."
The Blue Jays hit Porcello's changeup out of the park twice in the first, with Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Smoak going yard to help Toronto jump ahead to a 5-0 lead.
Encarnacion put Porcello and the Red Sox behind the eight ball with a three-run blast before Smoak, who went over the wall twice on the day, swatted a two-run shot with one out.
Jose Bautista added a two-run homer in the second as Porcello was lifted in favor of Robbie Ross Jr. when the Red Sox took the field for the third. It was the sixth game this season Porcello has allowed multiple home runs.
"I threw a lot of pitches over the middle of the plate," said Porcello after he turned in his shortest start in over two years while allowing seven earned runs on seven hits. "Changeup to Encarnacion was low-middle, changeup to Smoak was middle and fastball to Bautista in the second again was middle."
Exactly what's wrong with Porcello over his rough stretch isn't clear. Farrell doesn't think Porcello's 2014 trade and his subsequent four-year contract extension signed in April has been cause for any added pressure or expectations. Nor is the issue physical, Farrell said.
"I would think there's something he's tried to live up to, I wouldn't say it's inducing added pressure," Farrell said. "But he's a professional and he knows all the factors that are involved."
The right-hander, who hasn't won since May 16, stuck to a tight script postgame and summed up his recent challenges to difficulty when executing pitches.
"It's about executing pitches. I'm not doing a good job executing pitches in pressure situations," he said. "The most disappointing thing for all of this, especially after this one, is how we've been playing as of late, and letting my teammates down."