In the finale of a three-game series against the Rays, Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright will start on the mound opposite southpaw Drew Smyly.
Wright is 13-6 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. He is enjoying an All-Star season, but he got roughed up in his first start since returning from a shoulder injury. The 32-year-old let up five runs on seven hits in six innings of work in a 6-3 loss to the Royals on Friday. He walked three batters and struck out just one for the first time this season.
“I was a little antsy — too much adrenaline that first inning,” Wright said. “The walks killed me. [Royals first baseman Eric] Hosmer gets one that gets up in the air and it gets out, and right there, it’s three runs. If I would have been able to hold it to that, it would’ve been good, but to give up the other home run, start off a five-run spot in the first, that’s a tough deficit to overcome for any offense.”
Wednesday’s game will mark the first time in his four-year career that Wright will face the Rays.
Smyly, 27, sits at 6-11 with a 4.80 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. He may have a losing record, but he is 4-0 in his last seven starts. Most recently, the University of Arkansas product gave up two earned runs on three hits in six innings in a 5-4 loss to the Astros on Friday. He struck out eight and walked two in the no-decision.
Smyly wasn’t sharp in the first inning, allowing two runs (one earned), but he settled down to pitch well for the remainder of his outing.
“Drew didn’t have the best first inning,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We didn’t help him out. Uncharacteristic play, allowed a couple of runs. But Drew at the same time wasn’t very sharp. And then he dialed it up pretty good.”
In his five-year career, Smyly has totaled a 3-1 record and 1.48 ERA in nine outings against the Red Sox. He last faced Boston on April 19 of this season in a 3-0 Rays victory. Smyly threw eight scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and two walks in the appearance.
Rays vs. Wright (RHP)
Brad Miller is 1-for-4 with 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 walks and 1 strikeout.
Bobby Wilson is 1-for-3 with 1 strikeout.
Logan Morrison is 1-for-2.
Nick Franklin is 0-for-1.
No other batters have faced Wright.
Red Sox vs. Smyly (LHP)
Dustin Pedroia (16 plate appearances): .125 AVG/.176 OBP/.125 SLG, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Mookie Betts (15): .333/.333/.600, 1 double, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 4 strikeouts
Xander Bogaerts (15): .200/.250/.333, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
David Ortiz (14): .357/.438/.643, 1 double, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Jackie Bradley Jr. (9): .111/.111/.111, 4 strikeouts
Travis Shaw (9): .111/.111/.222, 1 double, 6 strikeouts
Brock Holt (7): .143/.250/.143, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Hanley Ramirez is 0-for-4 with 1 strikeout
Chris Young is 1-for-4 with 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts.