Red Sox Notes: Michael Wacha Took ‘Strides Forward’ This Season

'Just keep on getting stronger and stronger'

by

September 16

This season the Boston Red Sox may not have managed to find consistency in the win column, however, they’ve been able to count on the continued dominance of starting pitcher Michael Wacha. That became evident yet again during Friday’s 2-1 win against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.

Wacha, who entered the contest having tossed six-plus innings in four consecutive starts, added yet another to the streak. Wacha held Kansas City’s offense scoreless through five straight innings, allowing just four base hits (all singles) while retiring four of his last five batters faced.

The 31-year-old right-handed veteran delivered seven innings in total while allowing just one run off seven hits while walking zero batters and striking out four, which gave him his fifth straight start of reaching the six-inning mark in the no-decision effort.

“Strike one is the key and we haven’t done that consistently throughout the season,” Red Sox managed Alex Cora said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “But he’s done that and there’s certain times where you’re gonna get burned, right? … But then he can go five, six (innings) because that pitch is so important in this game. … When you are ahead of the count, you can do a lot of things. … Quality start after quality start, you know. He’s fun to watch.”

Since Aug. 14 against the New York Yankees, Wacha has recorded a 2.47 ERA in seven starts for the Red Sox — allowing 13 runs in 43 2/3 combined innings with 42 strikeouts and just four walks.

“Just building off of the previous one (start) and just keep on getting stronger and stronger,” Wacha said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Got a good little, I guess routine going. … Just keep building off of it, really.”

Wacha added: “I feel like I’ve taken some strides forward. … You try to stay on the attack mode out there as a pitcher and keep filling it up as much as you can with quality strikes.”

Here are more notes from Friday?s Red Sox-Royals game:

— Wacha, now with a 2.61 ERA after his latest outing, is now listed as fourth in Red Sox history for the lowest ERA after 20 made starts with Boston, according to Red Sox senior manager of media relations and baseball information J.P. Long.

— J.D. Martinez’s game-deciding two-out RBI in the eighth inning on Friday was the 22nd go-ahead RBI recorded in his career in the eighth inning or later. The fifth-year Red Sox finished 1-for-4 at the plate.

— Alex Verdugo, who drew the game-tying walk with the bases loaded ahead of Martinez in the eighth inning, recorded the 15th game-tying or go-ahead RBI in the eighth inning or later of his career. The 26-year-old outfielder finished 0-for-2 at the plate with two walks.

— Southpaw reliever Matt Strahm, who earned the save, has posted a 1.64 ERA in his last 11 appearances since being reinstated from the Red Sox injured list. The 30-year-old veteran has allowed just two runs in 11 combined innings pitched while holding opposing hitters to a .108 batting average.

— The Red Sox will seek a series win over the Royals in Game 2 on Saturday. First pitch of the contest from Fenway Park is set for 4:10 p.m. ET, and you can catch the game, along with an hour of pregame coverage, live on NESN.

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Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images
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