Right-hander Michael Wacha has been a constant presence in a Red Sox rotation that has seen its ups and downs early in the season.
Wacha, who pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays last year, picked up his first win of the season against his former team on Friday night. He allowed two solo homers to Wander Franco but was otherwise consistent as he went five innings and allowed three hits in a 4-3 victory.
“Just typical Wacha, mixing his stuff up,” acting manager Will Venable told reporters. “Was in the zone, made great shots. Unsettled them. Did a great job.
On the season, Wacha is 1-0 and allowed three runs in 14 1/3 innings, good for a 1.88 ERA. He allowed six hits and seven walks while striking out 12, opponents are batting .125 against him and he has a .91 WHIP.
He’s not technically the staff ace, but he’s thrown one so far.
Although he took the win on Friday, he said he wasn’t as sharp as he wanted and was disappointed with how often he fell behind in the count. He was, however, happy with the way he fought.
“I try to keep competing no matter what I do that day,” Wacha told NESN. “You may have to go to different things that you’re not used to whenever certain things don’t work out.”
Wacha has a 4.11 career ERA and has had many strong seasons throughout his career, but he posted a 6.62 ERA with the Mets in 2020 and a 5.05 mark with the Rays last year. last season. His last winning season was in 2018, when he finished 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA for the Cardinals.
So far this year, it looks like he’s starting to look like his old self. He gave up one earned run in 4.1 innings against the Detroit Tigers early this season and only one hit and no earned runs in five stellar innings against the Twins. The Rays game was the latest example of a steadily growing sample size. He owns a 1.11 ERA and .091 opponents average in his last five regular season starts.
According to MLB field quality, Wacha has a QOPA of 4.84, which is in the top 18% in MLB. His lead (6.34 QOPA) is in the top 3%, and his changeover, fastball, and curveball were solid as well.
If Wacha can continue to produce at his current rate, that would go a long way for a Red Sox team that already has a heavy roster and needs as many reliable pitches as possible.
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