We all know that, for a variety of legitimate reasons, pitchers are very unusual human beings. But do weird people become pitchers or does pitching make a person weird? As a trade, pitching is one of the more unusual ones out there. Hurlers can experience waves of success, oscillating between greatness and a level undeserving of where they currently are. A great pitcher can also simply fall off a ledge and never return to prior form. The two guys facing each other on Saturday in Tropicana Field could provide unique stories of their own.
Rick Porcello has been one of those guys bouncing up and down between All-Star form and Triple-A level. The Red Sox traded for him and then proceeded to pay him a whole lot of money before he started pitching at Fenway. And Porcello’s start to 2015 led to absolutely everybody criticizing the heck out of it. He certainly hasn’t done much to quiet those critics but some believe he’s turned a corner in his last three starts since coming off a month-long stint on the DL. Porcello shutout the White Sox over seven innings in his first start, set a career-high with 13 strikeouts against the Yankees in a tough-luck loss in his next and then pitched well in a win over the Blue Jays his last time out. There has been more movement on his sinker and he generally appears to be hitting more spots. With a few more starts left in his 2015 season, Porcello will be out to prove he’s the pitcher the Red Sox paid in the offseason. And while Vegas probably hasn’t priced him accordingly, I’m willing to bet he’ll be that guy against a lackluster Tampa Bay lineup.
Before Matt Moore got hurt in 2013, he was right in the Cy Young race chasing 20 wins and making the case he was Tampa’s ace, not David Price. But Tommy John surgery affects everyone differently and it has appeared to have hit Moore hard. He’s thrown just 41 innings since that season and given up 55 hits. This year has been particularly rough – 45 hits and 28 earned runs in 31.1 innings. That all adds up to an ERA over 8.00 and a WHIP approaching 2.00. Be warned I’m back in Africa and actually don’t know how the Red Sox lineup has looked as of very, very late. But as of five days ago it looked the part of a runaway train, a group of guys looking to prove as much as possible in the last month. If that’s still the case, it could be a blowout down in St. Pete.
Free Pick: Red Sox -105
YTD: 23-18-4 +0.54
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02