Pretty Ricky isn’t pitching so pretty anymore. Rick Porcello is 4-10 with a 5.06 ERA 3 months into the season. Last year’s Cy Young winner seems to have lost his touch, but why? Was last season who he really is as a pitcher or was it a fluke?

When it comes to pitching I really don’t get how pitcher can be so good one year and so bad another. I guess mechanics can be a tricky thing, but you should still be able to figure it out. For the most part. basketball players remain fairly consistent shooting wise over different seasons with a little change to be expected. However, you will rarely see someone who wins the three point contest not be able to shoot the 3 ball next season. That’s essentially what has happened with Rick Porcello. A Cy Young winner last year and a dud this year? My goodness man, figure it out.

Let’s take a look at Porcello’s seasons so far with the Red Sox.

2015: We Expected More

In his first full season with the Red Sox, Porcello was very underwhelming. Coming off of his big contract extension people expected a lot more. Porcello finished the season with a 9-15 record in 28 starts with an ERA of 4.92 and an opponents batting average of .287. Aside from the wins, those are all very high numbers. .287 is a solid average for a hitter, but if you’re allowing batters to hit that average off of you…yikes. If you remember correctly, a big problem for Porcello that year was the long ball. He allowed 25 home runs in 2015, remember that number.

While 2015 was certainly disappointing, everyone was hoping for a little more out of Rick Porcello in 2016, and he did not disappoint.

2016: The Year Of The Cy Young

in 2016 Porcello went 22-4 with a 3.15 ERA. Whenever Rick was on the mound last year you basically chalked it up as a win for the Red Sox, he was lethal. If you want to go a step further, he was a dominant 13-1 when pitching at Fenway Park. On top if this, he only allowed opponents to hit .230 against him for the entire year. Porcello did however allow 23 home runs.

It seemed as though as 2016 went on, Porcello seemed to get better and better. Eventually people couldn’t deny his rise and he was awarded the Cy Young award. Everyone thought, “This was the Rick Porcello we were hoping for when we got him from the Tigers”. Everyone expected his Cy Young season to continue into 2017 and that the battle for the Cy Young was going to be between him and Chris Sale…but that just hasn’t been the case so far.

2017: Batting Practice

So far this season, Rick Porcello is the exact opposite of the 2016 version of himself. Some of his pitches look like he’s throwing batting practice, just ask Manny Machado.

That ball was absolutely crushed and it is becoming a common theme. His pitches are going right down the middle.

The home run ball has always been an issue for Porcello, but he is on pace for his worst season with the Red Sox by far. Do you still remember the home run numbers? 25 in 2015 and 23 in 2016. So far through three months in 2017? 17. That’s a lot of home runs to be giving up. In fact, he’s on pace to give up 30+ this season. No one, including Rick, seems to know what is going on, but someone needs to figure it out ASAP.

A Strange Pattern

Take a look at Porcello’s records since 2009.

2009: 14-9

2010: 10-12

2011: 14-9

2012: 10-12

2013: 13-8

2014: 15-13

2015: 9-15

2016: 22-4

2017: 4-10

Anyone else see a pattern? With the exception of 2013 and 2014, Rick Porcello has one good year followed by a year in which he has a very bad year. As history would tell us, this would be a bad year for Porcello and in fact it is…very bad. This pattern could very well be just a coincidence, but if Rick Porcello continues to have a bad 2017, at least we’ll have season to believe he will have a great 2018.

The Bottom Line

Much like Hanley Ramirez, the Red Sox cannot go anywhere without Rick Porcello. Everyone knows that David Price can’t win a playoff game so Pretty Ricky needs to be there to pick up  the slack after Chris Sale goes out and does his thing. Maybe a trip to the 10-day DL and a skipped start might help “reset” Porcello. Sometimes all it takes is a little break to get a player back on track. The Red Sox may be in a battle for first place now, but if Porcello can turn it on, the Red Sox can run away with it. If Porcello continues to stink, it could be the Yankees division to win.

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