Blue Jays: Ryan Borucki toes the rubber opposite Rick Porcello

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 09: Rick Porcello #22 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 9, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 09: Rick Porcello #22 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 9, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

On Thursday, August 9, the Blue Jays will complete their short three-game series against the Boston Red Sox. Rick Porcello will take the ball for the Sox while Ryan Borucki will make his second career start against Boston.

Rick Porcello has already played the Blue Jays three times this season. The first start against the Blue Jays came on April 24. The Blue Jays would eventually defeat Boston 4-3 after managing just three earned runs over seven innings against the righty.

In their second game against the former first-round pick, Toronto managed even less offence. The Blue Jays compiled just three runs—two earned—over six and two-thirds innings. Toronto would go on to lose that game 8-3.

Despite a pattern of small run totals against the right-hander, the Jays would buck any trend by roughing up the starter for eight earned runs over two innings in their most recent match-up. Key to the high-octane attack, the Blue Birds had as many home runs (2) as strikeouts (2).

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Interestingly, despite allowing two bombs in two innings in his last game against Toronto, Porcello has been exceptional at avoiding the long ball this season. Through 140.2 innings pitched he has allowed just 16 home runs—translating into a 1.02 HR/9. As well, with an 11.2% HR/FB rate, this impressive stat is more than sustainable for the righty.

The Boston hurler has had a great bounce-back season for the Red Sox this year. Through 23 starts he has pitched to a 3.84 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 1.159 WHIP, and 115 ERA+. In total, he has been worth a good 2.5 fWAR.

The former Cy Young award winner has stayed true to his roots this season. The pitcher has alternated between his classic selection of a sinker, slider, four-seam fastball, change-up, and curveball.

The right-hander has thrown his sinker 30.61% of the time this season. The sinking fastball is not that fast, posting an average velocity of 90.31 mph. The pitch has done its job well this season, creating ground balls at a good rate of 56.52% of balls in play. As with many sinker-ball pitchers, though, these worm burners have found holes. This season the righty’s favourite pitch has given up a poor .295 BAA.

The right-handed hurler has fired home sliders 25.12% of the time this season. The breaking ball is quite hard, maintaining an average velocity of 86.62 mph—with sharp finishing glove-side cut. As a result of this movement, the pitch has produced the most strikeouts in his repertoire with a grand total of 39. Furthermore, the hard slider has allowed the best BAA, with a paltry .193.

Porcello has straightened up batters with a four-seam fastball 19.24% of the time this season. The heater is just a little bit faster than the sinker, holding an average speed of 91.77 mph. Unlike the sinking-fastball, the four-seam fastball has not allowed many hits—giving up a decent .231 BAA. However, many of these hits have gone for extra bases as the pitch has allowed a poor .484 SLGA.

The former first-round pick has broken off hooks 12.81% of the time this season. The curve is quite slow, posting an average velocity of 75.20. However, the breaking ball also breaks decently hard while approaching the plate. Finally, the big breaker has also allowed a tiny .364 SLGA with just three extra bases hits against its name.

The right-handed hurler completes his pitching repertoire with an occasional change-up. The off-speed pitch is a significant drop in velocity from the fastball, maintaining an average speed of 81.99 mph. The change has allowed a good .229 BAA and has produced 16 strikeouts.

Despite relying heavily on the groundball for outs, the starter has quietly impressed with his strikeout and walk numbers this season. Through 23 starts he has maintained an above average 22.8% K-rate and 8.64 K/9. Even more impressive, he has limited walks to the tune of a 5.6% BB-rate and 2.11 BB/9.

The Blue Jays have not been that good against the 29-year-old in their lengthy experience. The best in the group, Kevin Pillar, has 12 hits—including six doubles—in 44 at-bats against the New Jersey native. Teoscar Hernandez has really struggled, though. In eight career at-bats, the left-fielder has managed just one hit—a single.

Next. Blue Jays trade pitcher Nick Tepesch to the Detroit Tigers. dark

The Blue Jays do not have great past numbers against the former Cy Young award winner. However, the team has shown the ability to rough up the starter for quite a few runs this season. If nothing else, Blue Jays fans can look forward to a bit of redemption for Ryan Borucki since his last start against Boston.