There they are. Boston’s new Big Three — Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello.
Haters will say that Porcello doesn’t belong, but I say fuck them. I say take one look at that shiny new Cy Young award of his. Is Porcello as talented as Price and Sale? No, but I think that makes his Cy Young award all the more impressive, because he had to outwork, out-grit, and out-testicle the rest of the field last year, and he did. He belongs.
With that being said, Porcello, the reigning Cy Young award winner, is the third best pitcher in this new-look Red Sox rotation, which features 2012 Cy Young award winner and two-time Cy Young runner-up, David Price, and Chris Sale, who has finished in the top six for the Cy Young award in each of the last five seasons. Over their entire careers, these three pitchers have combined to strike out almost four thousand batters (3,837) with a combined ERA of 3.50, and a 1.18 WHIP.
We might as well address it now, because you know that this narrative is coming — BUT WHAT HAVE THEY DONE IN THE POSTSEASON?! No, you’re right. They’ve done jack shit in the postseason. It’s a legitimate concern, and there’s no sugarcoating it, for sure. Sale has never appeared in a postseason game, which I’m not worried about at all because he’s a psychopath, and both Price and Porcello have combined for a 2-11 record to go along with a 5.56 ERA, and 1.24 WHIP. That’s pretty bad.
However, that mostly falls on Price. Porcello got one postseason start last October, which went poorly, but he hadn’t been used as a starter since 2011, despite appearing in postseason games for Detroit in 2012 and 2013. Porcello remains somewhat of an unknown as a starter in the postseason, while we wait for a larger sample size. Price, on the other hand, has developed quite the reputation for postseason failure during his career, although I’ve got to believe that this can’t last forever. Eventually, he’s got to get fed up with how things have gone, and will ultimately turn things around in the postseason. He’s too talented not to. Red Sox fans won’t wait forever, though. They’re already fed up after one start.
We’re already getting ahead of ourselves here. The Red Sox have to get to the postseason first before we start worrying about postseason history, or lack thereof. As spring training gets underway next week, we’re going to be debating the order of this rotation up until the day that John Farrell makes it official. Should Porcello get the ball on Opening Day because he won the Cy Young award last year? Should Price get the ball on Opening Day because the Red Sox paid him $217 million to be their ace? Or should Sale get the ball on Opening Day because, well, he’s the best pitcher on the staff?
I’m honestly fine with any of the three getting the ball on Opening Day, because there’s an angle to justify any one of them getting the nod to kick off the season. But at the end of the day, does it really fucking matter? Rainouts happen, injuries happen, and the order of the rotation gets jumbled up after two weeks max. If all three of these guys are healthy, they’re going to make at least 30 starts each, and if you get 90 starts minimum from Sale, Price and Porcello, your team is going to be in pretty good fucking shape. The only time that the order of the rotation actually matters is when you set it up for a postseason series, and we’re far, far away from discussing that.
But I’ll say one thing — despite the long journey that lies ahead for this 2017 Red Sox team, it’s going to be one hell of a ride watching them compete for a postseason spot with a rotation that features Sale, Price and Porcello.