They ain’t kidding when they say when it rains, it pours. Everything is going poorly for the Red Sox right now, both on the field and in terms of injury. Prior to Saturday’s brutal loss to Chicago, we learned that both Chris Sale and James Paxton had suffered setbacks in their road back to the rotation. Now, we get bad news about Michael Wacha. We already knew he was scratched from today’s start, but the hope was that he’d be able to return next weekend to pitch in Texas. That’s now off the table.
The team announced Sunday morning that Wacha is being placed on the 15-day injured list for intercostal irritation. Tyler Danish comes up from Worcester to take his spot on the roster. The move is retroactive to May 5, meaning he is eligible to come back during the weekend series against the Mariners later this month.
It goes without saying that this is a big blow for the Red Sox rotation. Early on in this season, Wacha has been the team’s best starting pitcher, sitting with a 1.38 ERA over five starts and 26 innings. His peripherals tell a little bit of a different story with a 3.89 FIP, but A, that’s still solid, and B, his ability to limit damage on balls in play has not only been the product of good fortune. Wacha’s command in the zone has been very good, and his changeup in particular has left hitters off-balance and is leading to plenty of weak contact.
In his absence, it will be interesting to see how the team handles the rotation. For today, we know that Houck is going to be the starter, but it’s not clear that will be the plan going forward. He’s probably their best option, but they also could really use one of him or Garrett Whitlock in the bullpen, and they’ve said the latter is staying in the rotation for now. With two days off next week they can roll with a four-man rotation for a bit, but they’ll have to make a decision in about a week. In the meantime, Danish will provide some multi-inning relief ability. He made four appearances totaling 4 2⁄3 innings in a previous major-league stint, pitching to a 3.86 ERA with six strikeouts and two walks.