Even when things haven't always gone his way on the mound, Rick Porcello could, in the past, be counted on to throw strikes.
In his Cy Young Award-winning season in 2016, he averaged a mere 1.3 walks per nine innings. Even in 2017, when he led the league in losses, he allowed just 2.1 walks per nine.
But in a season in which very little has gone right for the Red Sox entire starting rotation, Porcello suddenly is incapable of throwing the ball over the plate. He walked five in four-plus innings in the Sox' 9-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday. It marked just the second time in 310 career starts he had walked as many as five in a single outing.
Of the five batters Porcello walked, just one came around to score. But the other four extended innings and resulted in him leaving after recording just a dozen outs despite 91 pitches thrown.
Still, this hardly seemed like an aberration for Porcello -- at least this season. In three starts to date, all losses, he's walked a total of 12 in 11.1 innings pitched.
What in the name of Daisuke Matsuzaka is going on here?