Boston Red Sox knuckle baller Steven Wright has been knocked around in two of three appearances. Is it time for Sox management to consider their options?
Nightmare. That’s the one term that comes to mind when thinking about Steven Wright. He’s gotten absolutely destroyed against the Orioles so far this season. In two starts so far, Wright has allowed 12 runs on 17 hits in 5 innings while getting one strike out and giving up 6 home runs. The only good thing about Wright’s second start was that he didn’t get bounced after 1+ innings. Wright in four starts this season has allowed four runs or more in three of those match ups. That’s not going to get it done.
While the Orioles may just be his Achilles heal, it’s still not going to make Sox fans feel any better for a couple of reasons. The Sox right now are 10 – 8, good for 3rd in the AL East. With a 10-game home stand starting with three against the Yankees, followed by three games against the Cubs, and finishes up with a four game series against, that’s right, you guessed it. The Orioles. Wright is scheduled to face the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta on April 28th and then the Orioles on May 3rd. If the Sox decide to go in a different direction, no fan would be upset.
The Red Sox have been relying on Chris Sale is and Rick Porcello too much to carry the load. Without them at the front of the rotation, the Sox would be lost. You know you’re in trouble when the team lead for wins is held by two relievers. Can’t fault Joe Kelly or Matt Barnes as they’ve been holding our team together. The irony in the pitching is that when the season started, the Sox bullpen was the concern, not the starting rotation. Porcello and Sale have combined for seven quality starts out of eight total appearances. The only other starts with quality starts are Drew Pomeranz which was a pleasant surprise and Wright who did alright in his last start out.
Remember that David Price guy? Ya, well as much as we want to blame Wright for being bad out of the gate so far, we’re all waiting patiently for Price to come back. Price is expected to return in mid-May but there’s still no exact timetable. With Price coming back in a few weeks and slotting him in the rotation, Wright is the for sure guy to leave. Question is, do you move him to the bullpen to work out the kinks or do you send him to Pawtucket? I was certainly impressed with Pom after his first start of the season and then getting 10 K’s his second time out? E Rod still has some stuff to prove.
Kyle Kendrick who dominated Spring Training isn’t scaring anyone. Henry Owens on the other hand is doing quite well as is Brandon Workman. With just a few weeks until the Sox get Price back fingers crossed, the Sox can afford to let Wright have one more shot. I say one because if he has another lousy appearance against the Cubs, there’s no way that John Farrell will give him the nod to face the Orioles a third time in five starts. Owens will get his chance to come up, there’s no question there. Workman as well will get a shot if he can continue to do what he’s been able to do.
The issue with knuckle ballers is that if they’re not on, they’re REALLY not on. There’s no hiding it. With the Sox losing their second in a row to the Orioles, they’ve slipped to three games out. It’s not like the Red Sox are in danger of missing the playoffs already but within the first couple weeks of baseball there’s been a good amount of red flags. If the Sox bats were going off that’d help but we can’t expect to get 6-9 runs of offense every game. Right now the Sox should be hoping to get 2-3 as even that seems to be difficult. If Wright can manage to put a couple quality starts in order before Price gets back into the rotation, I say he stays in Boston. If he can’t? We might have seen the end of Wright.
Photo Credit – Fred Thornhill – The Canadian Press via AP