Trying to build on a solid win Thursday night, the Red Sox send knuckleballer Steven Wright out to face Yovani Gallardo in Game 2 of Boston’s series with the Rangers on Friday night.
Wright (2-1, 3.68 ERA) last took the mound Saturday opposite the Angels, recording his first major league win as a starter with 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball. The righty surrendered just four hits and walked one while striking out a pair.
“For me, it’s just another day,” Wright said after the 8-3 victory. “If you try and put too much pressure on yourself you’re just going to disappoint and you’re going to try and over do things, over work. For me, I am going to try and go in there and throw quality knuckleballs in the strike zone. They are going to put it in play, it’s a contact pitch. Today we were fortunate to get balls right at some guys, guys made some good plays. I went as deep as I could.”
The win came during Wright’s second stint as a member of the rotation. While he has been in that role, he has given up four earned runs, five total, on nine hits over 11 1/3 innings. That’s good for an ERA of 3.18 and an opponent slash line of .209/.244/.249.
Wright has faced every team in the AL West except the Rangers, posting a 3-1 record in eight games vs. that division. He has allowed 16 earned runs in 34 2/3 innings against AL West teams for an ERA of 4.15.
Gallardo has made three starts against Boston with a 5.52 ERA and a 1-2 record over 14 2/3 frames. He has given up 12 runs to the Red Sox, nine of which were earned, on 26 hits. Of those hits, 12 have been for extra bases. Gallardo has a 1.909 WHIP when he pitches vs. the Sox and he received a loss at Fenway Park on May 19 in a four-run, five-inning effort. Overall, Boston slashes .366/.384/.662 when Gallardo is on the hill.
On the season, the right-hander is 4-6 with a 4.13 ERA. His most recent start came Sunday when he snatched a win over the AL East-leading Yankees. Gallardo allowed two earned runs in the first inning, but that was all he conceded for his six frames, giving his team a chance to come back and win, 5-2.
“I was able to use my curveball on first pitch to get ahead of hitters or behind in the count,” Gallardo said. “When I did leave my fastball over the plate, the hitters’ timing was off just a little bit.”
Over his last three starts, Gallardo has relinquished more than two earned runs just once, and prior to that he strung together four consecutive starts in which he gave up three earned runs. Through 10 appearances this season, Gallardo has logged time in 56 2/3 innings, striking out 40 and walking 16 while registering a WHIP of 1.32.
Red Sox vs. Gallardo (RHP)
Pablo Sandoval (25 plate appearances): .208 AVG/.240 OBP/.333 SLG, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Hanley Ramirez (11): .300/.364/.400, 1 double, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia (9): .444/.444/.889, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 RBI
David Ortiz (8): .571/.625/1.000, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 walk
Mike Napoli (6): .333/.333/.833, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 3 strikeouts
Daniel Nava (6): .167/.167/.333, 1 double
Xander Bogaerts (5): .400/.400/.600, 1 double
Brock Holt (4): .500/.500/.500, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout
Mookie Betts (3): .333/.333/.333
Blake Swihart has a strikeout in two plate appearances against Gallardo.
Rangers vs. Wright (RHP)
Carlos Corporan (2 plate appearances): .000/.000/.000
No other Rangers batters have faced Wright.