Executing sinker key to Porcello's success

Executing sinker key to Porcello's success

BOSTON -- For Rick Porcello, everything revolves around his sinker. When it's working, positive results follow.

That's been the case so far this season, and it proved true once again against the Yankees on Saturday night, when the Red Sox right-hander allowed just five hits in seven innings on the way to an 8-0 win.

Porcello finished April 5-0 with a 2.76 ERA. He's just one of four pitchers to reach that mark this year and ends the first month of the season with a sub-3.00 ERA for the first time in his career.

"I just have much better fastball command and I am really executing my sinker. That's allowed me to get ahead of hitters," Porcello said. "If I fall behind, it's allowed me to get back into the count. In this division with such powerful lineups, it's important to keeps guys off base. It's always been something that I have to do well, being a contact pitcher."

Porcello sat the Yankees down in order in four of the seven innings and allowed only two runners in scoring position, one of which came from his only walk of the night.

"Well, it's huge, limiting the number of baserunners. You go back to the adjustment he made right at the end of Spring Training. It certainly has translated into a consistent guy on the mound," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "All four pitches tonight for strikes, but most importantly, the ability to make the adjustment from pitch to pitch, which we talked about before the game, that's been probably the biggest thing. He's been sharp. If he gets out of whack or misses with a pitch, he's right back in the strike zone with quality location. And he's carrying it through a pretty extended period here."

A lot of Porcello's success comes from limiting the number of walks. The right-hander has allowed just five free passes through 32 2/3 innings this season. It's a stark contrast to how Porcello began 2015. Through five starts last year, he was 2-2 with a 5.34 ERA, allowing 10 walks in 30 innings.

"You watch the way he goes about it, he's pitching with a lot of confidence," Farrell said. "The numbers bear it out with the consistency that he's showing. More than anything, he takes the mound with a lot of confidence. He's able to get two outs with one pitch with that sinker. He's been a model of consistency."

Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.