Entering the New York Yankees‘ Fenway Park showdown with the Boston Red Sox, all indications were that right-hander Michael Wacha, who’s bedeviled the Yankees plenty in the recent past, would be returning from injury just in time to start Friday’s Game 2. Wow. A Red Sox recovering from a weeks-long break to punish the Yankees specifically? Who saw that coming?
Wacha has had a “resurgent” 2022, even though the metrics indicate he’s playing above his peripherals. He’s posted 2.1 WAR and a 6-1 record with a 2.69 ERA thus far, but he certainly doesn’t do a great job of missing bats, striking out just 50 men in 70.1 innings on the season.
That leaves him with a 3.96 FIP, which is more in line with the 4.47 mark he posted with last year’s Rays, buried by a 5.05 ERA. Last year? Unlucky. This year? Extremely lucky. Red Sox.
Wacha did look like a much better pitcher in 2021 against the Yankees specifically, though, somehow posting a 1.66 ERA in five outings across 21.2 innings in games facing the Bombers. Grrrrrrrrrrrross!
Not exactly who you want to face while Aaron Judge is battling lower body soreness NHL Injury Report-style and the lineup, on the whole, is going through a bit of midseason malaise.
Well, who knows if it’ll benefit them or not, but it turns out the Yankees won’t be seeing Wacha at all! The right-hander didn’t “bounce back” from his bullpen session/injury troubles well enough, and so that spot was put back … up for grabs! As was Saturday’s!
Yankees facing TBA Red Sox pitching probables Friday, Saturday
This shuffle leaves, instead of the challenge of Wacha, a likely Connor Seabold start and Kutter Crawford as some sort of bulk pitcher behind an opener on Saturday.
Seabold posted a lot of swing-and-miss in his recent start in Toronto — and impressed a watching-from-afar David Price, which was kind of weird? — but he’s objectively got an 8.31 ERA and 2.077 WHIP on the season.
Crawford? He’s got a 5.04 ERA on the season and got walked off by Josh Donaldson on Opening Day (thanks, buddy!), though he’s been much better lately in five-inning stints against Boston’s recent competition.
The Yankees are struggling offensively just as much as anyone right now, and they’ve also proven in recent decades that any combination of Red Sox randos can unequivocally shut them down. Remember Curtis Leskanic? Phillips Valdez last year? Doug Fister? It always happens, and it always sucks.
Though anything can happen, these two shifts to the Red Sox pitching plan benefit the Yankees in a vacuum.
Oh, and Chris Sale and Brayan Bello are pitching Monday and Tuesday after the series is over. Alright!