Steven Wright’s 2016 season has been full of impressive milestones, but he entered Friday night in a bit of a recent funk.
Consider his campaign back on track.
The Boston Red Sox’s resident knuckleballer dazzled against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, allowing just four baserunners while striking out nine in a complete-game shutout that arguably was the best outing by a Red Sox starter this season.
“He had a very good touch and feel for (his knuckleball),” manager John Farrell said of Wright, as aired on “NESN Sports Today” early Saturday. “It never really got away from him for consecutive pitches. He repeated his delivery outstanding (Friday). In complete control.”
Wright’s gem was a much-needed bounce-back outing after a rough July that saw him post a 6.23 ERA in six starts. But it also placed the 31-year-old veteran in some pretty rare company.
It’s never a bad thing when you’re mentioned in the same breath as Pedro Martinez.
Wright has pitched four complete games this season, all of which have come on the road. The All-Star right-hander has been much better away from Fenway Park in 2016, posting a 2.10 ERA in 11 road starts compared to a 4.02 ERA in 11 home starts.
That’s good news for the Red Sox, who have a road-heavy campaign to finish off the season and will be looking for Wright to deliver more bullpen-saving performances like Friday’s impressive outing.
— Dustin Pedroia exited the game in the third inning after fouling the ball hard off his lower left leg. He underwent X-rays after the game that came back negative, but has a “severe” bruise on his left shin, per Farrell.
— Travis Shaw entered for Pedroia and blasted a home run in the eighth inning. That long ball had some extra significance, as Shaw has fond memories of spending time in the Dodgers’ clubhouse as a kid when his father, Jeff, played for L.A.
“Rounding the bases, that’s a memorable one that I’ll remember for a long time,” Shaw said after the game, as aired on “NESN Sports Today.”
— Dodger Stadium is the only major league park in which David Ortiz hasn’t recorded a hit. It appears he’ll get another chance, though, as Farrell said before Friday’s game that Big Papi likely will get the start at first base Saturday.
Ortiz hasn’t played the field in nearly a year, and Saturday could mark the final field appearance of his career unless the Red Sox reach the World Series.
— Dodgers outfielder and former Red Sox Josh Reddick has something in common with Andrew Benintendi, as he also made the jump straight from Double-A Portland to Boston’s big league club back in 2009.
Reddick provided some insight on his own experiences before Friday’s game.
“It’s definitely going to be an intense jump, especially from Double-A,” Reddick said, via the Providence Journal. “Triple-A is kind of where you get your maturity as a hitter. … I think it’s just a matter of realizing how many adjustments you have to make at this level as opposed to that level.
“You’re going to get a lot more mistakes down there. You may get one mistake a game here, and if you miss it, you’re in trouble. It’s a matter of these guys knowing how to get you out that much better.”
— Benintendi’s former Double-A teammate suffered a scary moment Friday, as Yoan Moncada exited Portland’s game with an apparent left ankle injury. It doesn’t appear to be too serious, however.
Thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images