Boston Red Sox: Knuckleballer Steven Wright a risk-reward situation in relief

Boston Red Sox (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Boston Red Sox (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /

As the long search for an 8th inning guy continues, the Boston Red Sox have used Steven Wright out of the bullpen, eyeing him for a potential bridge to Craig Kimbrel.

We have heard it all season long, the bullpen is the Boston Red Sox’s biggest weakness.

The only reliever with a solidified role is closer Craig Kimbrel, with everyone else being used all over the place. Dave Dombrowski failed to add bullpen pitching at the deadline, something he is still getting criticized for.

With Knuckleballer Steven Wright back on the team and working out of the bullpen, it doesn’t eliminate the possibility of having him potentially being the 8th inning guy to get it to Kimbrel.

More from Chowder and Champions

This past weekend we saw Wright come out of the bullpen against the Astros. On Sunday, he pitched the 7th and 8th innings, allowing 2 hits and 1 walk. He didn’t allow a run and needed only 24 pitches to get through his 2 innings of work.

Before then, he last pitched September 3rd and 4th in Atlanta. Wright pitched an inning in each game, giving up 2 hits, 1 walk, and 1 strikeout, facing 10 batters and needing 44 pitches over 2 days. Wright has pitched effectively, and we hope that trend can continue into October if he is on the playoff roster.

Now, there are obviously some concerns with having a Knuckleballer coming out of the pen; especially in October. Having a knuckleballer on the mound is essentially a roll of the dice, you never really know what you’re going to get. If he’s on, he’s lights out and untouchable, but if he’s off, then you run the risk of balls to the backstop and a lot of hits.

How long can Alex Cora tolerate that before having to go out and get him in what could be a lost game at that point?

Wright coming into the game isn’t the worst of ideas. He provides a different look and a drastic change in speed and can screw up the timing of opposing batters.

The Boston Red Sox are loaded with pitchers who throw high 90’s and can hit triple digits, so having Wright come in with a very slow knuckleball can certainly screw the opposing team up for a bit.

If Craig Kimbrel were to come out right after him, it would be very hard to adjust, as Kimbrel sits 97-plus. That strategy could be effective, especially in high leverage must-win games that the Red Sox will run into come October.

Next. Welcome to the Boston Red Sox Brandon Phillips. dark

At the beginning of the season, you would’ve never in a million years thought that having Steven Wright pitch from the bullpen could even be an option on the table. But with the way things have been going for Cora’s bullpen so far this season, it may be worth the risk for the Boston Red Sox on their pursuit of another World Series title.