BOSTON (CBS) — Rick Porcello hasn’t started a game in the postseason since 2011, when he was just 22 years old and a member of the Detroit Tigers. Needless to say, he’s ready to jump back into the postseason fray as the Game 1 starter for the Red Sox against the Cleveland Indians in the American League Division Series.
“Having the three days off and a little bit of that lull there, we’re going to be chomping at the bit to get back out there and start playing again,” said Porcello to kick off his Wednesday presser, referring to the rest the AL East champions have had since finishing their 93-69 regular season.
Although the 27-year-old Porcello had the best year of his career in 2016, going 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA and a very real chance to win the AL Cy Young award, Porcello acknowledged that his pitching style is not like that of the prototypical “ace” of a staff. Against the Indians, and hopefully in future series, Porcello has to rely on pinpoint control and having a specific approach tailored toward whoever is at the plate.
“I’m not going to go out and blow 98 [mph fastballs] by guys or have some kind of nasty wipeout pitch,” said Porcello. “But I can go after a lineup with my repertoire and hopefully I have a weapon for each hitter.
“The things they dont like to hit, I can attack them with. I think the biggest thing is being able to be consistent with those pitches and attack those weaknesses.”
Porcello’s pitch arsenal may not remind you of an ace, but his mentality certainly does. He has taken hold of the top spot in the Red Sox rotation throughout the season and looks to carry over his confidence into the postseason. He sounded unfazed by the microscope he will inevitably be under as he takes the mound in a playoff start with baseball fans across America watching him.
“[You need to] boil it down to getting your routine and keeping everything the same, mentally, in your entire approach, and not trying to do anything more now that the national spotlight’s on you,” said Porcello when asked if there’s anything different to him about competing in the postseason. “You just go out there and play your game. It’s the same game. And just see where you end up.”
Porcello is 0-1 with a 4.22 ERA in 16.1 career postseason innings. With an eye on his first career postseason win, Porcello certainly sounds ready to carry his outstanding regular season over to October.