BOSTON (CBS) — Rick Porcello has an opportunity to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead over the Dodgers in the World Series.
It’s an opportunity he’s not going to squander.
“This is what you dream about,” Porcello said of his Game 3 start in Los Angeles Friday night, the first World Series start of his career. “It’s going to be exciting. The atmosphere, I’m sure is going to be loud and you have to do the best you can to control your emotions and maintain your focus. That opportunity to get two more wins, we’re all chomping at the bit for it.”
Porcello is 1-0 with a 4.22 ERA overall this postseason. He has a pair of scoreless relief appearances in addition to two starts, with his ERA jumping up to 5.00 in those two starts. He was strong in Boston’s Game 4 clincher over the Yankees in the ALDS, tossing five innings of one-run ball, but struggled in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Astros, surrendering four runs off sevens hits (including two homers) before being lifted after four innings. That was the last time he’s toed the rubber this postseason.
But the righty pitched well away from Fenway Park this season, going 10-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 18 road starts. The Red Sox have been road warriors throughout the playoffs, going 5-0 while outscoring opponents 40-13. It’s Boston’s longest road winning streak in postseason history.
“I’m not sure that you can kind of put your finger on why we’ve had some success on the road. I think we’ve played good baseball,” Porcello said from Dodger Stadium Thursday. “If you look back in the New York series, we put up 16 runs and then we threw the ball well in Game 4. And then in [Houston], David Price threw an unbelievable game, and we were able to score enough runs to close it out there.
“But I’m not sure why that’s been going on,” he continued. “I think, nobody’s allowing themselves to be affected by the environment they’re in, and maintain that business-like approach and going out and taking care of what you need to take care of.”
Porcello hopes to keep Boston’s road success going with his arm, but with the game in a National League park, he’ll also get the chance to help with the bat. A lot has been made about Alex Cora having to shuffle his lineup and sit one of his outfielders as the series shifts to L.A., but Porcello is no slouch at the dish. He went 3-for-7 at the plate during the regular season with a pair of doubles. One of those two-baggers came with the bases loaded against Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, driving in three runs for Boston.
He last stepped to the plate on Sept. 4 when the Red Sox were in Atlanta, going 1-for-2 with a single, a walk and a run scored. Even though he hit .429 with a .714 slugging percentage, Porcello said he got lucky.
“I wouldn’t necessarily call it an offensive groove. I said the entire year those were some pretty lucky hits. But, I don’t know, hopefully we’ve got one more in there,” he said Thursday. “But honestly, I hope that I get three or four at-bats and I’m playing down sac bunts, because that means we have a lot of guys on the bases and I’m in the game for a while.”
Porcello and the Red Sox will be opposed by Los Angeles rookie Walker Buehler on Friday night. The righty was 8-5 with a 2.62 ERA in 24 games during the regular season, but owns a 5.40 ERA in three postseason starts.