Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright made his first career start on Tuesday night against the Astros in Houston, and young Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway had a very difficult time handling the movement on Wright’s pitches.
Lavarnway, who has caught Wright eight times before in the minors, tied a Major League record by allowing four passed balls in the first inning. The mistakes allowed the Astros to score three runs on just one hit in the first inning to take an early lead against the Sox.
However, Wright didn’t exactly help himself out either – giving up two walks, hitting a batter and throwing a wild pitch. He was yanked after just one inning.
If it’s any solace for Lavarnway – four passed balls in an inning has happened twice in league history, once in 1954 and again in 1987, and both were by catchers trying to catch knuckleballers as well.
And to the young catcher’s credit, he was able to make up for his mistakes behind the plate with his performance in the batter’s box Tuesday night – knocking in the go-ahead two-run double in the Red Sox 15-10 win.