Conquering the AL East for the third straight season and setting a new franchise record in wins will not be enough if the Boston Red Sox come up short in the postseason.
At least not if you ask right-handed starter Rick Porcello, who's ready to contribute in any way imaginable if it improves the team's championship odds.
"I don't think we're going in there thinking about us as starting pitchers need to win ballgames," Porcello said, according to Christopher Smith of MassLive. "We're thinking that we've got a great ballclub. These opportunities only come around so often. We need to capitalize on it and we need to win a championship. Whatever that takes. I'll start. I'll come out of the bullpen. I'll do both. I'll do whatever to help this team win."
Porcello, like teammates David Price and Chris Sale, has never won a postseason start, though Price did register a win in relief when playing for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015. Porcello is 0-3 with a 5.47 ERA over 11 career playoff appearances (four starts).
The 29-year-old says his past struggles don't necessarily indicate what will happen in the future.
"Personally, every year is different," Porcello said. "If all of us were 5-0 in the postseason with a 1.00 ERA, OK, that would look great. You guys would have everything positive to write about your starting pitchers going into the postseason. But that doesn't mean we're going to go out there this year and win every game we start. So just because we don't have a win recorded in our name doesn't mean we're not going to go out this year and turn that around."
Regular-season wins have not come at a premium for Porcello or the Red Sox in 2018. He's gone 17-7 with a 4.30 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over 31 starts. They can clinch the AL East with a win against the New York Yankees on Tuesday and will match a franchise record in wins with two more victories.