After a three-game series with the Rangers, the Red Sox begin another three-game set Friday at Fenway against the Angels. Boston will send Rick Porcello to the mound in the opener, opposing Garrett Richards.
Porcello enters the game with a 4-2 record, having won his last three decisions. Porcello’s 4.26 ERA is the lowest among qualified Red Sox starters, which helps to demonstrate the general mediocrity of the Sox staff thus far.
However, like the Red Sox pitching staff as a whole, Porcello has shown promise as of late. His most recent outing came Saturday against the Mariners and their ace, Felix Hernandez. Porcello went 6 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and two runs while striking out six. Porcello outdueled King Felix, and the Red Sox got the win by a margin of 4-2.
“I feel good,” Porcello said following the win. “I feel like I have a good fastball. It changes throughout the course of the season, from year to year. Some years you’ve got more behind it, and this year I feel that way, so we’re using the fastball more.”
The 27-year-old righty has allowed no more than three runs in his past four starts. That span has seen him concede just six runs in 25 2/3 innings combined, earning a 2.10 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. The Red Sox have won each of Porcello’s last five starts.
Porcello has not fared particularly well in the past against the Angels. In 11 career starts against them, he is 4-4 with a 6.52 ERA.
Richards, a right-hander, is 3-2 with a 2.29 ERA this season.
Richards was one of the best pitchers in the American League for the better part of last season before injuring his knee in August and missing the end of the year. Richards’ rehab continued into this season, so he didn’t make his first start until April 19, and has made only six thus far.
In those six appearances, though, Richards has continued to impress. In his last start, Richards pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing just two runs on five hits, although he took the loss against Baltimore.
“I felt good,” Richards said after the game. “I felt like I got better as the game went on, attacking the zone, trying to work ahead, keep guys off balance.”
In five starts dating to April 24, Richards has been nearly unhittable. In 34 1/3 total innings, he has tallied a 1.83 ERA and 8.39 strikeouts per nine innings to go along with a .157 batting average against.
In six career appearances against the Red Sox (two starts and four relief outings), Richards has a 5.40 ERA and has not recorded a decision.
Angels vs. Porcello (RHP)
Erick Aybar (27 plate appearances): .208 AVG/.296 OBP/.250 SLG, 1 double, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
Mike Trout (17): .333/.412/.533, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
Matthew Joyce (16): .143/.250/.357, 1 HR, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts
Albert Pujols (13): .308/.308/.462, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout
David Freese (8): .125/.125/.125, 2 strikeouts
Johnny Giavotella (8): .250/.250/.375, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 strikeout
Chris Iannetta (7): .429/.429/.429, 1 RBI
Kole Calhoun is 1-for-3 in his career against Porcello.
Collin Cowgill is 1-for-3 with a strikeout against Porcello.
Mark Krauss is 1-for-2 with a double and walk in three plate appearances against Porcello.
C.J. Cron, Taylor Featherson and Carlos Perez have not faced Porcello.
Red Sox vs. Richards (RHP)
Mike Napoli (10): .571/.700/1.143, 1 HR, 1 double, 3 RBIs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia (7): .333/.429/.333, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Daniel Nava (6): .333/.333/.333
David Ortiz (6): .400/.500/.600, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Brock Holt is 0-for-6 with two strikeouts is six plate appearances against Richards.
Xander Bogaerts is 0-for-2 with a walk and RBI in four plate appearances against Richards.
Hanley Ramirez is 1-for-4 against Richards.
Mookie Betts is 0-for-1 against Richards.
Shane Victorino struck out in his only at-bat against Richards.
Jackie Bradley Jr., Sandy Leon, Pablo Sandoval and Blake Swihart have not faced Richards.