MLB: Red Sox’s Michael Wacha returns from injury to face Mariners
After defeating the Seattle Mariners with a season-high 12-run, 16-hit performance on Thursday, the Boston Red Sox look to build upon that victory as the four-game series continues on Friday.
Michael Wacha (3-0, 1.38 ERA) is expected to come off the injured list to start for Boston.
The Red Sox hadn’t listed a starter for Friday prior to the Thursday game, but manager Alex Cora said that Wacha is expected to return after missing two weeks due to left intercostal irritation.
“Because of his history with the oblique and all that, we just make sure we have the MRI and all that stuff and everything’s good,” said Cora, who originally hoped Wacha would be able to start last weekend at Texas. The right-hander threw a simulated inning Monday at Fenway Park.
Wacha hasn’t pitched for the Red Sox since May 3, when he blanked the Los Angeles Angels over 5 2/3 innings of three-hit ball. He is 0-3 with a 9.56 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners, having allowed 30 hits and 17 runs in 16 innings.
While the stars of the series opener were many, Trevor Story led the way, going 4-for-4 with three home runs, seven RBIs and five runs in Boston’s 12-6 win.
“It’s special. (You just have) a lot of appreciation for these nights knowing how hard the game is,” Story told NESN in a postgame interview. “You forget all the hard times on a night like this. … I was seeing the ball well and trying to hit line drives, not trying to do too much.”
J.D. Martinez (4-for-5, three runs) and Alex Verdugo (3-for-5, four runs) also enjoyed huge games for the Red Sox, who will shoot for their first three-game winning streak of the season on Friday.
The Red Sox “did a lot of good things,” Cora said of his club that erased an early 4-0 deficit for its largest comeback win of the season.
“It shows the toughness of our team,” Story said. “If we get down early, we’re not out of it.”
Seattle will try to bounce back Friday behind Robbie Ray (4-3, 4.62 ERA), who has logged 19 strikeouts over 11 2/3 innings over his past two starts. Despite allowing seven runs in the two games, Ray earned back-to-back wins over the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets.
In New York on Sunday, Ray gave up five runs on five hits and three walks in six innings. However, he generated a career-high 27 swings and misses on 97 total pitches, and he fanned nine.
“The walks obviously hurt,” Ray said. “That’s something that is super frustrating because I feel like I have the stuff that I don’t need to walk guys.”
A first-year Mariner, Ray made four starts against Boston as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays last season. He went 2-1 with a 3.13 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 23 innings over those games.
Ray, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, didn’t travel to Toronto earlier this week as he is unvaccinated.
On Thursday, Seattle’s Dylan Moore homered and drove in four runs while getting a start at shortstop. J.P. Crawford sat out with left-hander Rich Hill starting for Boston.
“We knew we were probably getting some guys some days (off) on this trip,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said before the game. “I talk to these guys a lot about their bodies and how they’re feeling.”
Mariners rookie Julio Rodriguez also left the yard on a 3-for-5 night. He has recorded multiple hits in three of his past five games.
–Field Level Media