At the beginning of the 2016 MLB season, if you were to throw the scenario out of the Boston Red Sox being in a one game wild card game for a final push into the playoffs, you would have said "no brainer...David Price", right? Well hold on a second...as 2016 has progressed, we see there could be different candidates to start this early October showdown for the BoSox.
While most would argue that a 3.93 ERA with a 14-8 record is decent, any true Boston fan would argue that for 7year-$217 million dollar David Price... they have expected far better for his 2016 campaign. Some would argue that his 193 strikeouts with his 1.22 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) are good enough to win one game, especially with that high powered BoSox lineup right? Well, when we dig a little deeper into the stats, we notice that Price is on pace to allow career highs this season in hits allowed, runs allowed, and home runs allowed. For a one game playoff, these stats can be very intimidating and tough for a Red Sox fan to swallow, especially the home run allowed total, which sits at a very disturbing 22 home runs allowed. Assuming the Red Sox continue at this current pace, we could assume that Price would be towing the slab for a one game playoff game in an extremely hitter friendly Fenway Park in early October, so is there reason to be nervous? Should all hope be given up on the Red Sox season? Enter option number two...
...In walks Frederick Alfred Porcello, better know as Rick Porcello. Thats right, the 27 year old righty out of Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey (who's contract is about 1/3 of the multi-million dollar aces contract signed this past December). In only his second year with the BoSox, Porcello has a stellar 19-3 record while holding a sparkling 3.23 ERA with 23 quality starts in 28 appearances in 2016 (1). Porcello has only walked 28 batters this seasons, and hitters are hitting a very sub-par .238 against him. On top of all of this, Porcello only averages around 3.6 pitchers per at bat this season, showing his efficient at getting hitters out. The best statistic of all? Porcello holds a whopping 13-0 record at home while supporting a 3.03 ERA and 1.03 WHIP (2). Efficiency has been Porcello's middle name this year, as he has been Mr. Reliable for the Red Sox down the stretch. Best of all, Porcello has only pitched 186 innings this season, far below the 198 innings average for starting pitchers this year. David Price has only pitched 194 innings this season, but has almost a full run higher ERA than Porcello, and almost half of the quality starts Porcello holds.
A conversation that many Red Sox fans, including myself, would have laughed at back in early April is now seeming to become more of a reality. Some would argue, "Price is the multi-million dollar man, this is the situation the Red Sox acquired him for.". While our stubborn, New England blooded gut might tell us this, we must step back and analyze who really is the best man to send to the mound for a one game playoff game for 2016. My answer to that is a little slogan I've began using..."numbers don't lie, Porcello is our guy".