Steven Wright had a night to forget against the Baltimore Orioles.
The knuckleballing right-hander gave up eight runs in just 1 1/3 innings at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. Wright surrendered as many home runs (four) as outs he recorded and it could be more than a flash in the pan.
Wright, who was an All-Star in 2016, has struggled over his previous 11 starts dating back to June 25 of last year. Since that time he’s allowed 13 home runs in 66 1/3 innings and has a record of 5-3 with a 6.51 ERA.
The Red Sox righty hit Orioles right fielder Seth Smith with the very first pitch of the game. It was the first time that a Red Sox starter had hit a batter with the first pitch of the game since fellow knuckleballer Tim Wakefield did so in September of 1997.
The Orioles would tag Wright for six runs in the first inning before chasing him after one out in the second inning.
“It was terrible,” Wright told reporters after the game on “Red Sox Final.” “The knuckleball wasn’t dancing. For them, it was batting practice, let’s face it.”
If this trend continues for Wright, the Red Sox could be in trouble with rotation depth being one of the team’s glaring weaknesses. The Red Sox will need Wright to regain some semblance of his All-Star form while David Price continues to work his way back from a left elbow injury.
Through two starts this season, Wright has allowed 12 runs in eight innings of work and surrendered five home runs which are the second-most in the major leagues. He didn’t give up his fourth home run until June 15 last season.
If the Red Sox need another starter the cupboard isn’t exactly stocked.
Kyle Hendricks could be the first name called up from Pawtucket if an arm is needed but he gave up nine runs in his first start in AAA. Henry Owens is another option but he has a record of 4-6 with 5.19 ERA over the last two seasons.
The Red Sox need Wright to get right, sooner rather than later.
— Wright also became the first Red Sox starter since Josh Beckett to allow eight or more runs in 1 1/3 innings.
— Red Sox catchers Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez have a WAR of 0.9 which is tied for the most by any position on any team, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.
— Robby Scott became the only pitcher in the live-ball era to begin his career with 11 consecutive scoreless outings.
— Pablo Sandoval now is 0-for-8 from the right side of the plate this season and 2-for-49 in his Red Sox career.
— Mitch Moreland became the fourth Red Sox player to double in six straight games, joining David Ortiz, Jason Varitek and Bill Regan.
–Robbie Ross Jr. made a rehab appearance for the Pawtucket Red Sox on Wednesday night. The relief pitcher was placed on the 10-day disabled list on April 6 due to influenza.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images