Right-hander Brayan Bello, 24, has established himself as one of the top young pitchers in the major leagues and has become the ace of a pitching staff that has been thinned by injuries to Chris Sale (shoulder), Tanner Houck (facial bone fracture) and Garrett Whitlock (elbow inflammation).
Bello (5-5, 3.08 ERA) missed the first three weeks of the season with a forearm strain suffered during spring training. He has been strong in 13 starts since joining the rotation, and his numbers would be much better if it weren’t for a lackluster season debut in which he allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings.
Since that outing, Bello has an ERA of 2.56, and he hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any appearance since then.
Bello carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning of his last start, a 2-0 loss to Miami on Thursday. He went seven-plus innings and surrendered a run on two hits, walked one and struck out five.
“He has so many weapons and he’s still learning how to use them,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Bello. “He’s just evolving, keeps getting better. His next (start) is going to be a challenge. It’s the Rangers, so he’ll be ready for that one and we’ll see what we got.
Bello didn’t allow a run in six innings to earn the win back on Sept. 3, 2022, during his only career appearance against Texas. He gave up three hits and struck out five.
The latest blow to the Red Sox rotation came Sunday, when Whitlock left his start against Toronto after one inning. He was placed on the 15-day injured list on Tuesday
“It’s just about getting treatment and all that stuff and reassessing the situation next week,” Cora said. “Obviously no timetable, but for how bad it looked or whatever people were thinking ligament-wise and all that stuff, this is the closest thing to good news.”
Right-hander Jon Gray (6-4, 3.21) is scheduled to oppose Bello. Gray has a 1-0 record and a 2.45 ERA in his career against Boston (one start). He went 7 1/3 innings in that appearance and allowed two runs on five hits. He struck out six and walked three.
Texas ended Boston’s three-game winning streak by earning a 6-2 victory on Tuesday.
There was some speculation that Texas might replace closer Will Smith with newly acquired reliever Aroldis Chapman after Smith allowed two runs in the top of the ninth of Monday’s 12-11 loss to Houston, but Smith was called upon to retire the final batter in Tuesday’s victory. The Rangers traded for Chapman on Friday
“I’m not going to go there now because Smitty has been doing such a great job,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s not what we’re even thinking about right now. … Those are important innings — seventh, eighth and ninth. We need to put zeroes up there, too. I’ll leave it at that.”
–Field Level Media
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