Knuckleballer Steven Wright shines as Red Sox tip Yankees – Boston Globe
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Steven Wright was fluttering his knuckleballs from the Yankee Stadium mound Wednesday night.
NEW YORK — Both are rookies and throw the baseball with their right hands. The similarities abruptly ended there for Steven Wright and Luis Severino on Wednesday night.
Wright is a 30-year-old southern Californian who has been playing professionally for nine years. A downward career path changed direction in 2011 when he committed to throwing a knuckleball. The Red Sox, intrigued, traded for Wright a year later and have tried to find ways to take advantage of his uniqueness since.
Severino is a 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic with an electric fastball and the greatest of expectations. He soared through the minor leagues, piling up strikeouts and prodding the Yankees to bring him up ahead of schedule. Wednesday was his debut.
Wright won the contrast of styles, pitching the best game of his career as the Red Sox beat the Yankees, 2-1, before a sellout crowd of 47,489.
A mammoth home run by David Ortiz was the difference, but even he conceded this game belonged to Wright. Over eight innings, Wright allowed one run on four hits, struck out nine, and walked two. Of his 108 pitches, 72 were strikes.
Box score: Red Sox 2, Yankees 1
“Given this lineup, in this ballpark . . . he was outstanding,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “That was as good as Steven has thrown for us.”
Wright was not inclined to disagree.
“Today, start to finish, that was the best I’ve felt in a while,” he said.
The eight innings and nine strikeouts were career highs for Wright. The knuckleball produced 15 swings and misses, the ball diving across the plate with what Farrell termed “violent” movement.
“When you see the late, hard action he’s able to create, even with the type of action he had, he was in the strike zone with it,” the manager said. “That’s a difficult combination to hit against.”
Wright mixed in 11 fastballs and five curveballs, keeping the Yankees out of kilter. New York had scored 40 runs in its previous four games.
Wright carried a no-hit bid into the fifth inning before Didi Gregorius singled up the middle with one out. John Ryan Murphy singled with two outs but Jacoby Ellsbury struck out on four pitches, swinging wildly at …Read More