Red Sox Steven Wright Foiled Again By No Offense
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Steven Wright might develop a complex when he takes the mound. The offense isn’t exactly helping him, even with a low ERA.
What’s a guy gotta do to get some respect? Wright’s 2.01 ERA is fifth best in the major leagues, only behind such big names as Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arrieta, Madison Bumgarner, and Noah Syndergaard. Not bad for a knuckleball pitcher who was supposed to be merely the fifth starter on the Red Sox. Instead, he’s the fifth best pitcher in baseball.
Yet, last night’s game against the Chicago White Sox was a typical night for Wright and the rest of the team: he blazes through the opposing lineup only for Boston’s bats to fall short of his greatness. Wright went nine innings, allowing an unearned run on five hits, three walks, and six strikeouts. He even picked off Todd Frazier at first base. In 112 pitches, Wright threw 78 of them for strikes, inducing an incredible 12 groundouts to only four flyouts.
Sounds like a great victory for Wright, right? Except for the fact that the only run the Red Sox could muster was from Christian Vazquez, hitting only .221 for the season, singling to score Chris Young in the bottom of the seventh inning. The RBI was redemption for the passed ball Vazquez allowed to open the scoring for the White Sox in the top of the second inning. For six innings, the Red Sox couldn’t get that run back, and yet Wright buckled down and threw well until the team could climb back.
So… Wright threw nine innings until the cardiac kids could come back and win it in the bottom part of the frame, right? Wrong. Jose Abreu, with two outs, doubled off of Craig Kimbrel, Wright’s replacement, to cash in two runs in the top of the 10th inning. The Red Sox couldn’t recover and lost the game, with Wright ending his night with a no-decision.
Meh, not that Wright would be so shocked about how the game went. He allowed three runs only one time out of his four losses. The other three losses saw Wright allow only two earned runs or less. Between some defensive miscues and the lack of offense, it’s incredible that Wright actually has eight wins. Wright has nine unearned runs scored on him so far this season. With the bats being so quiet when he takes the mound, Wright can’t afford that many runs scoring in his outings. Some of those are passed balls, as the knuckleball is very hard to catch, but many of them are also well-publicized as sloppy defense.
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Wright is averaging over seven innings a start so far, including three complete games. He’s playing well beyond the team’s expectations. However, the Red Sox should start expecting these quality starts more often and they should also expect the need to get their butts in gear to provide him with some runs. These starts go to waste when opposing teams just have to wait until the bullpen goes in to finally get some runs coming their way. If things don’t change quick, the way that the rest of the pitching staff has been performing, fans should definitely expect to be out of the American League East division race by July or August.