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Coming out of spring training, the Red Sox have a variety of arms in both the starting rotation and the bullpen to produce quality outings early in the season.
In a recent interview with The Sports Hub’s Tony Massarotti, Alex Cora discussed pitchers such as Michael Wacha among those options. The 30-year-old signed a one-year deal with Boston this offseason and looks to return to his potential from St. Louis after stops with the Mets and Rays.
“You gotta see him,” Cora said. “He’s a great guy. He understands the game. Looking forward to seeing him pitch and seeing where he takes us.”
In terms of anticipating Wacha’s potential, Cora cited one start in spring training against Toronto where Wacha showcased his full arsenal of pitches – including his four-seam fastball, breaking ball, changeup and sinker – to get hitters out.
“In that game, he changed his whole game plan,” Cora said. “He became the pitcher we used to see with the Cardinals. He became that guy.”
Outings like this led to Cora comparing Wacha to Nathan Eovaldi, in terms of utilizing all of his pitches to effectively attack hitters. He believes the veteran can expand on this potential in 2022.
“Hopefully he puts everything together this year,” Cora said. “Michael can do that, and hopefully he has a great season for us.”
With Wacha in the mix, the Red Sox realistically have eight pitchers that can start games through the rotation, a spot start for Garrett Whitlock, and the midseason returns of Chris Sale and James Paxton. The depth of the staff excites the Red Sox manager entering the season. Cora is especially intrigued by the height of his starters as Wacha, James Paxton, Chris Sale, and Rich Hill all stand at 6-foot-4 or taller. Their height can create deception and greater trajectory on their pitches.
“Wait until you see all of these guys,” Cora said. “We got dudes. … We got old school horses on the mound.”
The depth and quality arms that Boston possesses creates an intrigue to compete on the mound in a highly competitive AL East.