Porcello named opening day starter

DanoooME

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Rewarding him for his Cy Young Award? Or is there a strategy here? Because I would think you would want to break up the lefties more.
 

Drocca

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Rewarding him for his Cy Young Award? Or is there a strategy here? Because I would think you would want to break up the lefties more.
What is the reasoning behind breaking up lefty starters? I'm not being snarky, I've seen it for years but do not think I've ever really seen, read or heard a solid reasoning.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Rewarding him for his Cy Young Award? Or is there a strategy here? Because I would think you would want to break up the lefties more.
Of course it's a reward for the CY, because there's little other meaning to Opening Day starter other than the honor. There's not much strategy behind it (unlike say, a Game 1 postseason starter). There will be 2 righties and 3 lefties in the rotation to start the year. No matter how they do it, they're going to have two lefties back to back somewhere. Unless they're giving Wright the game 2 start, balancing the rotation seems like the last criteria to worry about.
 

Average Reds

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What is the reasoning behind breaking up lefty starters? I'm not being snarky, I've seen it for years but do not think I've ever really seen, read or heard a solid reasoning.
The only advantage to breaking up lefties is so that no team can just "sit" on a single (right handed) lineup for an entire series.

But to answer your question more directly, there is no advantage other than forcing some platoons and making fans think that the team is giving their opponents a "different look."
 

Drek717

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Rewarding him for his Cy Young Award? Or is there a strategy here? Because I would think you would want to break up the lefties more.
We're going to have at least three lefties in the rotation (Price, Sale, one of EdRo/Pomeranz) and potentially four. So going L-R-L-R-L still has one L-L start pairing (#5-#1) whereas going R-L-L-R-L is effectively the exact same number of L-L starts (#2-#3).

The later of those is probably Farrell's idealized Porcello - Price - Sale - Wright - EdRo/Pomeranz (assuming Wright wins out over EdRo and Drew). It is also one of two likely rotations without Price (Porcello, Sale, EdRo/Pomeranz, Wright, Pomeranz/EdRo) versus R-L-R-L-L or R-L-L-L-R, all depending on how the back three sort out.
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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Isn't Price starting on the DL already breaking up the lefty's? He can be slotted anywhere when healthy (hopefully)
Price's replacement is also a lefty.

Based on ST scheduling, it appears the Sox plan to open with Rodriguez-Wright-Pomeranz slotted as 3-4-5, assuming no additional injuries.
 

grimshaw

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Hopefully Chris Sale doesn't rip his jersey off and throw it in Farrell's face Robert Horry v Danny Ainge style.
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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Don't you want the better pitcher (Sale) pitching first?
No, you want your best pitcher getting no fewer starts than your second-best.

But I'm sure there's at least a rough draft of a plan plotted out for the first three weeks or so. Through the MFY series ending 4/27, there's no reasonable way that Porcello can make even one more start than Sale. The off days 4/13 and 4/24 make it basically impossible, without considering the option of short rest.

This is fine. Reward the guy who just won the CYA, and lose nothing.
 

Ale Xander

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No, you want your best pitcher getting no fewer starts than your second-best.

But I'm sure there's at least a rough draft of a plan plotted out for the first three weeks or so. Through the MFY series ending 4/27, there's no reasonable way that Porcello can make even one more start than Sale. The off days 4/13 and 4/24 make it basically impossible, without considering the option of short rest.

This is fine. Reward the guy who just won the CYA, and lose nothing.
Ah thanks. I was thinking first just for that reason but if you're saying because of schedule vagaries then that's good.
 

DanoooME

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What is the reasoning behind breaking up lefty starters? I'm not being snarky, I've seen it for years but do not think I've ever really seen, read or heard a solid reasoning.
The only advantage to breaking up lefties is so that no team can just "sit" on a single (right handed) lineup for an entire series.

But to answer your question more directly, there is no advantage other than forcing some platoons and making fans think that the team is giving their opponents a "different look."
Yeah, my thought was that you wouldn't want to run into a team like Toronto, whose best hitters are all right-handed, and give them the platoon advantage 3 straight games.

John Farrell isn't managing a rotisserie team. Giving Porcello the Opening Day nod was a no-brainer.
Some guy named Sale would have a pretty good argument that it isn't quite a no-brainer. And you might have made an argument for Price if he was healthy because both of those guys have a better long term portfolio than Porcello.

We're going to have at least three lefties in the rotation (Price, Sale, one of EdRo/Pomeranz) and potentially four. So going L-R-L-R-L still has one L-L start pairing (#5-#1) whereas going R-L-L-R-L is effectively the exact same number of L-L starts (#2-#3).

The later of those is probably Farrell's idealized Porcello - Price - Sale - Wright - EdRo/Pomeranz (assuming Wright wins out over EdRo and Drew). It is also one of two likely rotations without Price (Porcello, Sale, EdRo/Pomeranz, Wright, Pomeranz/EdRo) versus R-L-R-L-L or R-L-L-L-R, all depending on how the back three sort out.
With 4 LH starters you're going to have to run all 4 in a row at some point; it can't be avoided without a spot start or some other change. If it was my team, I'd like to have my best guy first, and IMO that's Sale.

I'd go Sale, Porcello, Pomeranz, Wright, EdRod
 

LoweTek

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I believe the reason to alternate RHP-LHP is to force the opponent in a series to field changed, (often weaker defensive), lineups with more LHH against RHP and vice versa. IOW to force them to platoon.
 

mauidano

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Who fucking cares really? Let's play ball and win some games. Much ado about very little. It's like throwing out the first pitch at a game. It's ceremonial more than anything.
 

lexrageorge

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Of all the things we like to criticize Farrell for, this really should be somewhere around #9,438,456,284 on the priority list.
 

acf69

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100% team politics and management, nothing to do with L/R staging. You cannot bump your CY winner for a guy you traded for. Sale will first have to prove he can upstage Porcello in Boston.
 

mauf

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Some guy named Sale would have a pretty good argument that it isn't quite a no-brainer. And you might have made an argument for Price if he was healthy because both of those guys have a better long term portfolio than Porcello.
Porcello won the Cy Young Award last season, pitching for the Red Sox. You can't expect him to be OK with being pushed aside in favor of a guy who has never pitched an inning for the team, or for a guy who joined the team a year ago and wasn't as good last season as Porcello. Sale and Price both will understand that.

As I said above, once you think of these players as living, breathing humans rather than cogs on a rotisserie team, the decision is a no-brainer. If either Price or Sale had pitched his entire career here, then yes, it would be a closer call.
 

Merkle's Boner

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I'm a little surprised no one thinks Kendrick can start the season as the #5 starter over Pomeranz. Kendrick has been awesome over 18 IP so far, while Drew made his debut yesterday with 2 IP.
 

Reverend

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100% team politics and management, nothing to do with L/R staging. You cannot bump your CY winner for a guy you traded for. Sale will first have to prove he can upstage Porcello in Boston.
Porcello won the Cy Young Award last season, pitching for the Red Sox. You can't expect him to be OK with being pushed aside in favor of a guy who has never pitched an inning for the team, or for a guy who joined the team a year ago and wasn't as good last season as Porcello. Sale and Price both will understand that.

As I said above, once you think of these players as living, breathing humans rather than cogs on a rotisserie team, the decision is a no-brainer. If either Price or Sale had pitched his entire career here, then yes, it would be a closer call.
I think it's just as likely that Sale wouldn't want to be put in the awkward position of being named Opening Day starter over the reigning Cy Young award winner.

As mauf said, these are people. I doubt many in the clubhouse have any problem with the manager rewarding the guy who got it done for him last year. I mean, that's the standard expectation for them at work, yeah?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I'm a little surprised no one thinks Kendrick can start the season as the #5 starter over Pomeranz. Kendrick has been awesome over 18 IP so far, while Drew made his debut yesterday with 2 IP.
If Kendrick had a place on the 25/40-man roster already, there might be conversations about him making the club. As it stands though, the only way he makes this team out of spring training is if another starter joins Price on the DL between now and Opening Day. Otherwise, Kendrick sits tight in Pawtucket through at least Memorial Day waiting for an opportunity no matter what he does on the mound in the meantime.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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I'm a little surprised no one thinks Kendrick can start the season as the #5 starter over Pomeranz. Kendrick has been awesome over 18 IP so far, while Drew made his debut yesterday with 2 IP.
Most people aren't going to judge him by 18 ST IP as opposed to an extremely mediocre career.
Fortunately today is March 15 and there are 19 days until Opening Day, so we'll get to see both of these guys 3 or 4 more times each.

Edit:

RHF just added a very important point about KK and a roster spot needed for him and the ability to stash him in AAA
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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If Kendrick had a place on the 25/40-man roster already, there might be conversations about him making the club. As it stands though, the only way he makes this team out of spring training is if another starter joins Price on the DL between now and Opening Day. Otherwise, Kendrick sits tight in Pawtucket through at least Memorial Day waiting for an opportunity no matter what he does on the mound in the meantime.
As long as the Red Sox are carrying Bruce Brentz on the 40-man (and yes, they still are), there's no roster crunch so tight that one more potentially-useful MLB player couldn't be added to it.

With Price and Elias confirmed opening the season on the DL, Owens and Johnson and Workman all cut from the major league squad, the first three series all having been scheduled for open-air stadiums in cold locations (BOS, DET, BOS), and especially if Thornburg's shoulder-strengthening program doesn't proceed fast enough to have him fully game-ready by opening day, there may be high value in writing Kendrick into the swing-man role to start the year. I'd rather see that than the Sox hand that last bullpen spot to a complete non-entity like Noe Ramirez, once again.

There will be lots of innings for the bullpen in the early going. Too many for the "good" arms to handle them all, and the drop-off from good to crap looks pretty steep in the near future. If the Sox are serious about winning in April, they need to have some average pitching options, too, or the quality pen arms will all be overworked by May. So, as well as Kendrick has pitched this spring, I think there's a solid argument for allowing him to make the team.

Brentz is getting cut from the 40-man regardless. When that ax falls, the Sox may as well add someone useful to the MLB roster. Kendrick probably won't stick all year, I hope. He's just not that good. But if the Sox need someone to throw MLB innings, and they think he can be MLB-average to start the year, then they shouldn't just try to stash him in AAA.
 

luckysox

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It's been several years since Kendrick was really even average - 2011 and 2012, to be more precise when he managed ERA+ of 119 and 104, respectively. Even in 2014, with the Phillies, his ERA+ was only 84, but when looking at his game logs, the guy seemed almost as likely to give you 6-7 innings and 0-2 runs as he was to give you 5 innings and 6 runs. That's what most teams get when running out a #6 starter, or stashing said #6 in the bullpen for long man duty. He claims to be healthier (shoulder) this season than he has been in awhile, and said he's back to throwing his sinker. I think he is likely to be better than Sean O'Sullivan was in the role last year, and seems, at least right now, to be a better option than Oh Henry, Brian Johnson or Roenis Elias, who is injured. If I were Farrell, I'd probably think hard about doing what Buzzkill suggests above, and bring him up for the start of the season. Pomeranz and Wright are coming off injuries, and it's going to potentially be cold and windy and crappy for the 1st week or so. I could see Kendrick being a 2-3 inning guy behind Pomeranz, who seemed to have trouble going more than 5-6 last season for the Sox because of pitch counts.

I think (maybe hope is a better word) Porcello, Sale, EdRo and Wright have good chances of averaging 6 innings a start during the 1st month. Use Kendrick in a way that he can best help the team win games. They have until mid June until his opt-out comes. Things should be a little more settled by then. And hopefully one or two of the other AAA guys can step up and be of some value by then if necessary.
 

BaseballJones

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Projections for Porcello (from http://www.rotochamp.com/baseball/Player.aspx?MLBAMID=519144):

Composite: 197 ip, 14-10, 3.70, 1.18 whip
RotoChamp: 196 ip, 12-10, 3.49, 1.14 whip
Steamer: 196 ip, 13-10, 4.00, 1.23 whip
ZIPS: 197 ip, 15-9, 3.56, 1.18 whip
CAIRO: 197 ip, 15-10, 3.84, 1.18 whip

Those would all be a significant step back for Porcello compared to his 2016 campaign (223 ip, 22-4, 3.15, 1.01 whip), but it would still be a solid year (the Steamer projection would be a disappointment for sure).

Assuming Sale is Sale (composite projection of 210 ip, 15-9, 3.17, 1.09 whip), and Price comes back healthy at SOME point in the year, is this going to be enough from Porcello? Or do the Sox need him to be better than these projections? I think Wright, Pomeranz, and EdRo are all major wild cards.
 

Papifan34

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Even though we're 3-2 and third in the conference, I still think that we have World Series potential. Especially since we signed Chris Sale.
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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It's a "Division", not a "Conference" but it's nice to have a new voice here. Could you provide some analysis (numbers, thoughts, or both) to add to your comment?
I think your troll meter needs recalibration, Lose. There's literally nothing correct about that post.

Except the World Series contender part.
 

pokey_reese

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Only through 2 starts, but Porcello is so far continuing the positive trends in his rate stats that many people worried would regress this year. His BB/9 is still low at 1.5, about .5 lower than his career average, and his K/9 continues to rise (though I don't think 9.5/9 is sustainable), while FIP/xFIP are still looking good. Other than the .400 BABIP, everything is still looking solid thus far, though as that falls below .400 his HR/FB rate should normalize a bit. But there is nothing to suggest that he isn't a ~3.5 FIP guy going forward, which would cement him as the borderline ace that he looked like last year.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I could use one of those pitch f/x guys to assure me that things are fine. Two posts prior to this one helped but....
I figured he would regress somewhat from last season but the pickup of Sale, improvement by Price and Rodriguez would more than make up for it. Still a little worried that a regression could be closer to a complete drop back to his '15 year version
 

johnnywayback

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I could use one of those pitch f/x guys to assure me that things are fine. Two posts prior to this one helped but....
I figured he would regress somewhat from last season but the pickup of Sale, improvement by Price and Rodriguez would more than make up for it. Still a little worried that a regression could be closer to a complete drop back to his '15 year version
If it helps, he wasn't great at the beginning of last year, either -- gave up 5 homers in his first three starts. Also, in a vanishingly small sample, his HR/FB rate is 20.8% -- far higher than at any point in his career, including in 2015, when it was a career-high 14.5%. And his BABIP is .385.

I mean, the best reassurance is "it's early," but even in the tiny sample size, there's reason to believe that his performance hasn't been quite as bad as the results.
 

phenweigh

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Per WEEI

“You can live with singles,” Porcello said. “I don’t think it’s so much the number of hits. I’m attacking guys with the fastball. It’s just about location. That’s it. I’ve got to get better with my sinker and four-seamer command and using those two fastballs. That’s really the bottom line. There’s no secret to it. It’s pretty simple. Execute the ball better.”

Added Porcello: “I feel fine. Mechanically I’m pretty much the same. It’s just pinpointing the fastball. I’m not locating it well enough to get in advantage counts and it’s causing me to leave pitches over the plate when I fall behind.”
 

flymrfreakjar

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Maybe if he was worried about 'pinpointing' the fastball like he said in the postgame, he was trying to take a little off for control's sake in an attempt to get into a groove location wise?