Three things learned from Red Sox 5-3 loss to Blue Jays
1) Steven Wright is proving to be just as useful Tim Wakefield
By Nick Friar
When Tim Wakefield arrived in Boston in 1995, his knuckleball was nearly unhittable. While it wasn’t “unhittable” for the rest of his 19-year career, it was effective, and no one can argue that.
Steven Wright is starting to look to be just as effective.
Although he’s 0-2 to start the season, he’s thrown quality starts in both appearances and posted a 2.13 ERA against the toughest right-handed lineup in the league.
Most importantly, he’s limited the work for the bullpen. He’s now thrown 13.2 innings, second most on the team to David Price’s 18. However, Price has had three starts to everyone else’s two.
In just looking at the entire staff’s first two starts each, Steven Wright is the Boston Red Sox' leading pitcher in innings and ERA.
“I think just working with Wake and Carl (Willis) and really just try to stay under control.” Wright said on where he’s received his confidence from this season. “I think the biggest thing for me is if I can stay under control I can attack the zone and that’s all I tell myself.”
John Farrell even stated that Wright could remain the fifth starter on the staff when Eduardo Rodriguez returns to the rotation.
“He’s throwing the ball well,” Farrell said. “First of all, we need to get [Rodriguez] back here. When that day arrives, yeah we’ll have a decision to make. But he’s certainly doing everything to support his cause. You like the contrast of style, you like the fact that there’s a uniqueness to him.”
2) Marco Hernandez could serve as Pablo Sandoval’s replacement if shoulder sidelines him for 2016
Although it was his first Major League game, Marco Hernandez didn’t look much like the “new guy”.
He worked a walk against Aaron Sanchez, taking some very close pitches and even managed to get a hit off the righty’s sinker that left Boston hitters guessing all day.
“He was impressive in spring training,” Farrell said. “I don’t think the moment or the day was something that he didn’t handle emotionally.”
In addition to being a left-handed bat off the bench, Hernandez played second base as well as Dustin Pedroia has all season, even though he’s used to being on the other side of the second base bag.
“He did a pretty good job,” Xander Bogaerts said about his newest double-play partner. “He looked solid offensively, defensively [and] running the bases, as well. He created a run for us today -- he did an excellent job for us today.”
3) Chris Young can’t be trusted to hit against right-handers in any circumstances
Needless to say, Boston’s left fielder struggled at the plate on Sunday, striking out three times in four at-bats.
Not only did he strike out in his first try, but his bat didn’t leave his shoulder on any of the four pitches he saw. And in his other two strikeouts, he also wound up going down looking.
Unfortunately for Young, Boston hasn’t faced a left-handed starter all season, so he’s had limited opportunities at the plate.
Farrell made the point he needs to get repetitions against right-handers, but to what cost? Will Brock Holt continue to miss games, or Travis Shaw?
And with the game on the line, Young still stayed in against Toronto’s right-handed closer, with Holt waiting on the bench.
“There was some thought there,” Farrell said about pinch-hitting Holt for Young in the ninth. “Chris Young needs the at-bats -- we’ve got left-handers coming.”
Young’s true value will start to show itself when Boston faces J.A. Happ Monday morning. Once he gets a few games in, then Boston will know if it has a worthwhile hitter.
If not, add him to the list of the (somewhat) big-name free agent signings that didn’t pan out.