(AP) — Rick Porcello has hardly lived up to the big contract extension he received from the Boston Red Sox this offseason, though he finally flashed some potential last time out.
He’ll look for a similar showing Wednesday night against the Baltimore Orioles, who have hit Porcello hard twice already this season.
Porcello (4-5, 5.01 ERA), who came over in a December trade and signed a four-year, $82 million extension with Boston (27-32) after posting a 3.43 ERA last season in Detroit, allowed 13 runs over his final two May starts to drop his ERA to 5.37.
The right-hander bounced back by allowing two runs in eight innings last Wednesday in a 2-0 loss to Minnesota without surrendering a walk or a home run. He had issued seven walks and allowed five homers over his last three outings.
“I didn’t walk anybody, and I did a better job of staying out of the middle of the plate,” Porcello told MLB’s official website. “I didn’t give up the home runs that really hurt me the last time out, and the walks. That was the difference.”
Baltimore (27-30) had no trouble against Porcello in back-to-back April starts. The right-hander allowed 12 runs in 11 total innings against the Orioles with the majority of the damage coming from Adam Jones, who went 4 for 7 with a home run and a double.
The Orioles will go with Wei-Yin Chen (1-4, 3.18), who continues to pitch well without much to show for it. The left-hander has allowed more than three earned runs only once, and he secured his seventh quality start by yielding two runs in 6 1-3 innings before Baltimore scored a run late in a 3-2 win at Houston on Thursday.
Chen took the loss on April 20 when he allowed five unearned runs to the Red Sox in 4 1-3 innings, then rebounded by matching a career high with eight innings and holding Boston to two runs in a 5-4 win five days later.
He’ll pitch with the comfort of a red-hot bullpen, which tossed 4 2-3 scoreless innings Tuesday after Miguel Gonzalez exited with an injury. T.J. McFarland and Chaz Roe combined to allow one hit, and Zach Britton worked a five-out save in Baltimore’s 1-0 victory.
Orioles relievers have allowed three runs over their last 18 1-3 innings while holding opponents to a .131 average.
“We are trying to get on a roll, win some games and get out of the dungeon, so to speak, in the standings a little bit,” Britton said. “We are playing good ball right now. Offense is scoring just enough runs and we are pitching the way we are capable of pitching, so those are good things.”
Baltimore, which has won its last three at home against Boston, saw its bats go silent on Tuesday, scoring the game’s only run on a wild pitch. Chris Davis continued his slide with an 0-for-4 night and is 3 for 24 in his last seven games.
Hanley Ramirez’s status is uncertain after he fouled a ball off his left knee and exited Tuesday’s loss. X-rays were negative and Ramirez, who had gone 8 for 17 in his previous four games, said he wanted to play Wednesday.