Lost in Seattle Mariners starter Wade LeBlanc’s dazzling outing Saturday night was the fact that Steven Wright pitched almost equally as well.
Saturday marked three outings that the Boston Red Sox turned to the knuckleballer for a start, and each time he’s given his team for more than what they needed to win. In Saturday’s case, however, the one run he surrendered was too much, as Boston fell to the Seattle Mariners 1-0 at Safeco Field.
While Wright was saddled with the loss, bringing his record to 2-1 this season, each time he has taken the mound there is a peace of mind that he is going to get the job done.
Wright entered the game with Major League Baseball’s longest scoreless streak, but saw it snapped at 24 2/3 innings in the third by Nelson Cruz’s RBI single. Although Wright is letting runners reach base, seldom are they earning anything beyond a single or a walk, and he has shown he is more than able to buckle down and get himself out of a jam.
All this is to say that Wright has — at least in the early going — become one of Boston’s most reliable starters, and is pitching the same way that got him inserted into the Cy Young conversation in the 2016 season before going down with an injury.
Obviously, the only thing he can control is what he does on the mound, and if the offense is going to get torched then there is nothing more he can do. But the 33-year-old has controlled each situation well so far, and as the Sox offense appears to be hitting a possible slump as we head into the doldrums of the season, the stability Wright is providing in the middle/back end of the rotation will be pivotal.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Mariners:
— The Red Sox offense was unable to figure anything out against LeBlanc on Saturday night. They managed just two hits while never getting a runner past first base.
LeBlanc retired 22 consecutive batters between Mookie Betts’ single to begin the game and Eduardo Nunez’s single in the eighth inning.
— Rafael Devers hit in the cleanup spot with Mitch Moreland getting the night off and J.D. Martinez hitting third, but the third baseman went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
The 21-year-old entered the game having hit safely in 10 straight contests, a streak that was snapped with his hitless performance. His average currently sits at .236.
— Christian Vazquez caught Wright on Saturday night and had a streak of his own snapped with the loss. The Sox previously had won in each of the last 13 games that Vazquez served as the catcher.
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