The Boston Red Sox need Steven Wright right now because of their struggling bullpen. But will his use of PED’s create strife in the locker room?
The Red Sox are in need of bullpen help. Their pen has been bad lately, highlighted by Wednesday’s meltdown blown save. Not surprisingly, the Red Sox are now first in the American League in blown saves with 16. The bullpen needs some help, and Steven Wright can provide exactly that.
Steven Wright made his 2019 debut in Wednesday’s game against the White Sox. He went 1 inning, allowed 1 hit, and recorded 1 strikeout.
Wright is coming off an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. He has had a troubled past, which includes domestic assault along with the suspension.
This has created somewhat of a distraction within the Red Sox clubhouse or at least one that the media is portraying.
Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe discussed the distraction, saying there was some uneasiness in the clubhouse over Wright’s suspension. He mentioned that many players, like Chris Sale and Dustin Pedroia, are very against PED’s (not that other players aren’t, they just feel strongly about it), which is bound to create some awkwardness.
“Obviously it’s not easy,” manager Alex Cora said. “It’s a topic. But everybody goes about their business the way they always do.”
Wright’s return could create some strife in the locker room. He’s done some things that are generally frowned upon. But the players need to forget about it because this Sox team needs him.
Wright will most likely slot into the bullpen, mainly in long situations of 2 or more innings. He did this last year a lot because of his knee. They will work him in slowly with low leverage situations to ease him back and get him in a groove. But in the long run, his addition will significantly improve the struggling bullpen.
Last season, Wright made 7 appearances in which he pitched 2 or more innings in non-starts. He went a combined 22 innings pitched, struck out 17, and had an ERA of 1.64. He did walk 10, but that is expected from a knuckleballer. The Red Sox were 5-2 in these games when he pitched in these situations.
These are great numbers by Wright. And they need this because every other Sox pitcher in long inning situations is terrible.
Marcus Walden, Matt Barnes, Colten Brewer, Hector Velazquez, Heath Hembree, Tyler Thornburg, and Josh Smith (most of the pen) are atrocious when they have pitched 2 innings or more. Here are the numbers:
68 1/3 innings pitched, 64 hits, 28 earned runs, 15 walks, 74 K’s, 9 homers, a team record of 12-17 in this appearances, and a group ERA of 3.69. The ERA is the most important in my mind, and 3.69 is pretty terrible for this group of guys.
When the Red Sox starting pitchers go out early in games, which has happened often because they have been a disappointing group this season. There needs to be long relief, which this pen hasn’t been able to provide at a good level at all.
So Steven Wright will come back looking to fill the void that the rest of this team has left to him to try to save the Red Sox in these multiple inning situations out of the bullpen. But his personal problems may cause some strife in the locker room with the questionable decisions he has made in the past. The bottom line is that Steven Wright is needed and will help in the bullpen for the second half of the season.