Tanguay: Sticking with Porcello is the right move


John Farrell hasn't had a good season on many fronts. But his decision to start Rick Porcello on Wednesday night against the Marlins is right on the money.

It's sooo easy to yell “Start anyone but Porcello!!!” However, that's not looking at the entire picture. The Sox need Porcello to get right in order to make a serious run at the A.L. East. And, for that matter, to accomplish anything in the postseason should they qualify.

Boston has been the hottest team in the division, winning 7 of 10, but is still in last place, six games out. The Sox have to continue to surge to have any kind of chance. For that to happen, Porcello must find himself.

Boston's pitching staff is ranked 28th (out of 30) in major-league baseball in earned-run average, even with Clay Buchholz pitching his butt off and winning five straight. He's been awesome, but he won't keep this up for the rest of the season. Even if he does, it won't be enough. They need more.

Porcello could provide it.

The Sox don't necessarily need the Rick Porcello they hope will eventually earn his $82 million contract. They simply need the Rick Porcello who went 15-13 last year with a 3.43 ERA with the Tigers. If he had simply been his slightly-above-average self this season, the Sox would be neck-and-neck with the Yankees.

And if you take Porcello out of the rotation, who replaces him? Brian Johnson, the lefty phenom from Pawtucket? Perhaps, but the plan is for him to join the big club after the All-Star break and take the place of Justin Masterson, who will then go to the bullpen.

A starting rotation of Buchholz, Eduardo Rodriquez, Johnson, Porcello and Wade Miley has more potential than one with Masterson or Steven Wright. Porcello must step it up. We have no idea how Johnson will pitch in the big leagues, Buchholz could easily come back to Earth. Rodriquez needs to go deeper into games. Miley is, well, Miley.

Plus, Farrell needs to give Porcello a chance to pitch to Ryan Hanigan, who is back behind the plate. This battery performed well before the catcher went on the disabled list. I know, a pitcher should be able to throw to anyone. But pitchers are quirky and finicky people. Steve Carlton wanted to throw to Tim McCarver and Josh Beckett wanted Jason Varitek. It's not crazy for a pitcher to have a binky. What if Hannigan is Porcello’s binky?

While Porcello has put up some major stink jobs this season, the month of June as seen him alternate good and bad starts. If Porcello shows promise in his next start then the Sox know he is worth sticking with. If he doesn’t, it's time for him to hit the road . . . or, should I say, come down with “wink wink” shoulder soreness and take a spot on the DL.

For the Red Sox' sake, let's hope he proves that he's worth sticking with.

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