Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright, who has been a pleasant surprise in the team’s rotation this season, will look to continue that narrative as he faces off against Astros righty Bud Norris on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
Wright has put up quality starts in all three of his outings this season, although he only has one win to show for it, as his record sits at 1-2 to go with a dazzling 1.40 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. In his last start Friday against the Astros in Houston, he picked up his first win of the season after going 6 2/3 innings and allowing just one unearned run on four hits. He walked five and struck out six, as the Red Sox came away with a 6-2 victory.
“He’s been the most consistent starter, without question,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the win. “Going back to the conversation in spring training, not knowing where he was going to break with us. Just go out and pitch. And he does a great job of that, whether it’s in either role. To pitch the innings he’s doing, he’s been a stabilizer in the rotation.”
Wednesday night will be Wright’s first career start against the Braves.
Norris has had a rough go of it so far this season, as he’s off to a 1-3 start with a 6.75 ERA and 1.69 WHIP. In his last start Friday in Atlanta against the Mets, he lasted just four innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits. He walked two and struck out four as the Braves went on to lose the game, 6-3.
“Really kind of frustrating,” said Norris after suffering his third loss of the season. “I’ve got to get better. I know I can pitch deeper [in games] and do a lot better. … I want to turn this around as quick as I can, because it’s still April. I know there’s a lot more in the tank.”
The 31-year-old, who started his career with the Astros in 2009 and also has pitched for the Orioles (2013-15) and Padres (2015), has faced the Red Sox seven times, compiling a 2-3 record with a 3.07 ERA and 1.318 WHIP. He has 41 strikeouts and 19 walks in 44 innings of work.
Braves vs. Wright (RHP)
Eric Aybar (6 plate appearances): 3-for-6, 1 double, 2 RBI
Tyler Flowers is 0-for-3.
Red Sox vs. Norris (RHP)
Dustin Pedroia (22 plate appearances): .375 AVG/.545 OBP/.563 SLG, 3 doubles, 3 RBIs, 6 walks, 2 strikeouts
Chris Young (18): .118/.167/.118, 1 RBI, 6 strikeouts
Hanley Ramirez (17): .471/.471/.706, 1 double, 1 home run, 3 RBIs
David Ortiz (15): .267/.267/.667, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs, 3 strikeouts
Ryan Hanigan (14): .250/.357/.250, 5 RBIs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
Brock Holt (13): .400/.538/.600, 1 triple, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 1 strikeout
Xander Bogaerts (12): .167/.167/.167, 1 strikeout
Mookie Betts is 1-for-7 with one RBI and one strikeout.
Jackie Bradley is 0-for-2 with one strikeout.