Coming off an inconsistent first season in Boston, Rick Porcello will look to get his 2016 campaign started on a high note when the Red Sox square off against the Blue Jays in the middle game on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre.
The 27-year-old Porcello struggled last season -- going 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA. The former first-round Draft pick of the Tigers in 2007 had a rough Spring Training numbers-wise, and will face one of baseball's best offenses. For his part, Porcello has focused more on making the necessary modifications his second time around the American League East.
"You watch swings that guys are taking and to me, I think the biggest value of it is just acquiring knowledge and understanding that this is working or this isn't working, and then you know you've got to make adjustments," Porcello said. "If you're pitching well, you're probably fine. [The numbers] don't always tell the whole story."
The Blue Jays will counter with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who spun five innings of three-run ball in a win over the Rays on Monday. Dickey is 6-6 lifetime against the Red Sox, with a 4.23 ERA. The 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner has been a model of consistency since being acquired from the Mets, pitching at least 200 innings during his first three seasons in Toronto.
Things to know about this game • Chris Young and Pablo Sandoval are expected to make their first starts of the season this weekend for the Red Sox. Young is expected to primarily face left-handed pitchers, but Boston isn't currently scheduled to face any in their first nine games. Young will likely start against Dickey on Saturday.
• Red Sox manager John Farrell, who managed the Blue Jays in 2011-12, is pleased to see the new dirt infield at Rogers Centre.
"Hopefully [on] those last bounces, their fielding is a little bit natural," Farrell said. "I can recall infielders breaking fingers just taking ground balls because it was so bouncy. I think this gives a chance to be more of a natural play, a natural pace of ground balls here."
• Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson will likely remain in the designated hitter spot until his sore right calf is symptom free. Donaldson, who received his 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Award prior to the home opener, hit a grand slam in a six-run fourth as the DH on Friday and hit in his customary No. 2 spot in the order.