Knuckleballer Steven Wright Emerging as Red Sox Ace


Knuckleball hurler Steven Wright tossed a gem Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, reminiscent of Tim Wakefield in his prime.

The 30-year-old’s pitches were dancing all over the zone as the New York’s batters went down swinging time and time again. Wright and the Boston Red Sox earned themselves a 2-1 win after closer Koji Uehara preserved the game with a scoreless ninth.

Pitching in his 14th game of the season, Wright was as sharp as he’s ever been in a Red Sox uniform. In his last start, on June 30 against the Chicago White Sox, Wright out-dueled ace Chris Sale with eight strikeouts over seven innings of work. Shockingly enough, Wright topped that performance against a potent Yankees lineup which had exploded for 13 runs the night before.

In victory, Wright improved his record this season to 5-4. He provided the Red Sox bullpen with a much-needed blow, tossing eight innings of one-run baseball. Wright varied the speed and location of his knuckleball from start to finish, racking up a career-high nine strikeouts and 13 first-pitch strikes.

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The lone run he did allow came in the eight inning via a solo homer off the bat of Carlos Beltran. He walked just two batters. In three career games against the Yankees, Wright is now 2-1 with an ERA of 1.50.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was impressed with Wright’s efforts, saying it was by far the best performance he’s ever seen out of him.

“This team (Yankees), given the short porch in right…he was outstanding from start to finish,” Farrell said of Wright following the game.

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Wakefield and Wright have been working together quite a bit over the last few weeks. Wright says the long-time Red Sox great has helped him iron out his mechanics.

“He’s helped me out a lot since spring training,” Wright said of Wakefield following the game.

With the Red Sox rotation in desperate need of a dominant top of the rotation pitcher, Wright has stepped up and embraced the roll. He has allowed just five runs over his last 19 1/3 innings of work, striking out 21 batters and walking just six during that time. It’s safe to say Wright is coming into his own and he’s here to stay.