The Boston Red Sox are in the midst of a stretch of 23 straight games. Monday they begin an 11-game road trip.
The last thing they need is for one of their most reliable and most durable starting pitchers to hit the disabled list.
That’s exactly what’s happening though.
Sunday afternoon, less than an hour after a Mookie Betts, three-home-run blitz led the Sox to a 16-2 drubbing of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team announced that starting pitcher Steven Wright was heading to the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to August 8th.
It isn’t all doom and gloom. Wright’s injury isn’t serious. Saturday he told WEEI’s Rob Bradford that there was no structural damage.
“It’s one of those things where it still hurts when I throw, but the ball is still coming out the same,” Wright said. “With there being no structural damage, it’s bursitis, so it’s a little inflamed. If the pain doesn’t go away, it’s just about if it’s tolerable enough to pitch through. Right now, I don’t know. I right now, it’s 50-50. It all depends on how I feel when I get off the mound.”
Losing Wright for a few weeks shouldn’t be the end of the world, but the timing couldn’t be worse.
The Red Sox bullpen has struggled as of late. One of the advantages the Red Sox have is that they’ve been able to limit the usage of the pen. Only Blue Jays relievers have amassed less than the 339 innings pitched that Red Sox relievers have worked this season.
Wright is a key part of that. He averages nearly seven innings pitched per start, and generally can be counted on to be quite effective over those seven innings.
Of course if Wright isn’t healthy, that means that Clay Buchholz gets yet another shot at redemption.
Buchholz started against the Diamondbacks on Saturday. He wasn’t memorably good or memorably bad. He pitched 4.1 innings and allowed three hits, three walks and three earned runs, but he didn’t have any of the disastrous innings that plagued him earlier in the 2016 season.
His next start will be Thursday afternoon against a very good Detroit Tigers team with a very dangerous lineup.
If the Red Sox are going to contend for the AL East crown then they’re going to have to win a majority of the games on this road trip, and they’re going to have to do that without Steven Wright.