Boston Red Sox: Michael Wacha proving doubters wrong early on

Michael Wacha #52 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Michael Wacha #52 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

For the second straight season, the Boston Red Sox starting rotation has thoroughly exceeded expectations. Despite being without Chris Sale and James Paxton, who both would have cracked the starting rotation had they been healthy to start the season, Boston’s rotation has been stellar all season long.

Their recent stretch of pitching has been their best of the season. Over the past six games, none of Boston’s starting pitchers have allowed more than one earned run per game. They have all lasted at least five innings as well, highlighting how good they have been over that stretch.

While there really hasn’t been a weak link in the rotation, there’s one guy who’s gone above and beyond the others, and that’s Michael Wacha. Wacha has been the Sox best starter all season long, and he continues to prove his doubters wrong early on in the season.

Michael Wacha has been the Boston Red Sox best starter in 2022

When Wacha was signed to a one-year, $7 million deal this past offseason, many folks (myself included) were skeptical of the deal. Wacha had been a pretty bad pitcher over the past three seasons, and it just seemed like $7 million was way too much to hand out to him.

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Through the first two months of the season though, it looks like Chaim Bloom has another bargain on his hands in Wacha. He has a 4-1 record through nine starts, including a pretty 1.99 ERA. He’s been one of the best pitchers in the majors, not just on the Boston Red Sox roster.

Wacha’s best outing came last night against the Los Angeles Angels, where he pitched a complete game shutout in a game where Boston only scored one run. The Angels, who lost their 12th straight game, proceeded to fire their manager Joe Maddon earlier this afternoon.

Wacha has helped stabilize a rotation that looked awfully shaky to start the season. Garrett Whitlock was oddly made a starter, Rich Hill didn’t seem capable of reaching five innings, and Nick Pivetta struggled.

But now everything is coming together around Wacha. Whitlock has settled in as a starter, Pivetta has bounced back to form a deadly 1-2 punch with Nathan Eovaldi a top the rotation, and Alex Cora has used Tanner Houck out of the bullpen pretty much everytime Hill pitches, which has worked out quite well so far.

Boston will eventually get Sale and Paxton back, and while there will certainly be a spot available for Sale, Paxton may not be able to crack the rotation at this point. Those are good problems to have, but it certainly wasn’t expected coming into the season.

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The Red Sox are finding their form thanks to their starting pitching, and Wacha has unexpectedly been leading the way all season long. If he can continue to pitch like this, Boston will continue to fight their way back in the AL East standings.