By Brodie Barrick — @BarrickMLB
Any player in any sport with a dream to be at the highest level will tell you the work they’ve put in to get there. Some have to put in more than others to get to the highest level. One thing that any Major League Baseball player will tell you, and starting pitchers in particular, is that it is beyond rewarding to see all your hard work pay off and be named Opening Day Starter for your club. Following a CY Young Award winning season in 2016, Rick Porcello finally made his first career Opening Day start.
We all already know that Porcello had a great 2016 season. However it was in question who would throw Opening Day after the Red Sox acquired Chris Sale from the White Sox. All spring, we heard that the pitchers in question did not care about the Opening Day start, that they just want to do whatever they can to help the team win, this and that. I’m sure to a certain extent, that is true. In reality, Rick Porcello was the best pitcher in the American League last year (as proven by his AL CY Young Award). Therefore, Rick Porcello should have without a doubt been the Opening Day starting pitcher.
These guys at the MLB level have a competitive edge that we see come out on a daily basis while watching the games. They all want to be the best player they can be and ultimately be the best player in the league. Only a select few actually can be. But every pitcher in every rotation wants to be the guy that their manager hands the ball over to on Opening Day. Rick Porcello finally got what he deserved after a season like what he put up a year ago.
And he didn’t disappoint. Porcello turned in a great Opening Day start. He sailed through 6 shutout innings before handing the ball over to Matt Barnes in the 7th after allowing a couple hits and a run. Porcello’s day ended after 6.1 innings, and getting tagged for 3 earned runs when Matt Barnes couldn’t get out of the jam he inherited in the 7th. Porcello walked only 1 while striking out 5, and scattered 6 hits over his 6.1 innings pitched.
While Porcello may not be the first Red Sox pitchers since Pedro Martinez in ’99-’00, he certainly started the season on a good note and is 1 win closer to matching his total of 22 from a season ago. With game one being in the books, we now turn our attention to the Red Sox debut of Chris Sale slated for Wednesday night.