All goes wrong for Wright in first start

All goes wrong for Wright in first start
August 7, 2013, 1:45 am
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HOUSTON -- It was not the first major-league start Steven Wright had envisioned. He lasted just one inning, giving up three runs on one hit and two walks with a strikeout, a hit batter, a wild pitch, and four passed balls by catcher Ryan Lavarnway to tie a major league record for passed balls in an inning.
 
His knuckleball was moving in ways that Tim Wakefield’s never did. And for his first time pitching in a dome, Wright struggled with making the adjustments necessary to control the confounding pitch.
 
“It was a tough inning for he and Lavarnway both,” manager John Farrell said. “[Given] the conditions, we [felt we] needed to make a move at that point.”
 
Lavarnway came back out for the second inning. Wright didn’t. Right-hander Brandon Workman replaced him on the mound.
 
Lavarnway and Wright have worked together, while both were in Triple-A Pawtucket. The movement on Wright’s pitches in the game surprised even Lavarnway.
 
“I don’t know why it was,” Lavarnway said. “He’s been brilliant the last two times out. Sometimes it just goes the other way.”
 
“It was moving a lot,” Wright said. “It was one of those things that it’s hard to contain sometimes, and today I wasn’t able to make that adjustment quick enough to keep it in the strike zone, and that’s kind of what happens to the knuckleball.”
 
The four passed balls charged to Lavarnway tied a major league record, set first on Sept. 10, 1954, by Ray Gatt of the New York Giants, and most recently on Aug. 22, 1987, by Geno Petralli of the Rangers, catching knuckleballer Charlie Hough.
 
“It’s a tough pitch,” Wright said. “Usually I can keep it within a certain area of the strike zone. He’s caught me before, and he’s done a really good job. And today it was all over the place and it makes it tough. I thought he did a good job staying in there and just kind of taking the punches with me.”
 
Wright felt the effects of the dome immediately.
 
“It was definitely moving:” he said. “It was moving more than I think I’ve ever had it in my life and so it’s a learning experience. It’s great to come out on top. We got the win. I just wish I was able to go a little deeper in the game.”
 
It was an outing unlike any Wright has had in his career.
 
“I’ve had outings where I’ve been a little bit more all over the place, but usually I’m able to settle in,” he said. “But today was one of those days with us in the pennant race, going down 3-0 right from the get-go is tough. I put a lot of stress on the guys coming out of the pen, Workman and them. It was just one of those days where I wish I would have fight through a little more. But they made a decision and it benefited the team and we came out on top.”
 
It’s not the way he hoped his first big league start would go, but the Sox’ ultimately pounding out a 15-10 win made the outing easier for him to take.
 
“Definitely,” he said. “That’s the goal is you want to win. And so for me I’m disappointed in my efforts because I feel like for me I should be able to help save the bullpen. That’s the whole goal of your day and I wasn’t able to do that. But in the end we came out on top and I think that’s the ultimate goal is to win and we were able to do that today.”