Right-hander Chris Mazza will make his first career major-league start for the Red Sox in Sunday night’s game against the Yankees, manager Ron Roenicke announced Saturday.
Per Roenicke, Mazza’s last outing at Yankee Stadium, in which he tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief on August 1, factored into this decision.
The 30-year-old hurler allowed just one hit, walked two, and fanned three in what was his Red Sox debut earlier this month, but he was promptly optioned back to the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket on August 6 when roster sizes across baseball had to be reduced from 30 to 28 players.
That being said, a roster move will have to be made in order to add Mazza back to the active roster, which is exactly what Roenicke said would happen earlier in the week.
Prior to being claimed off waivers by the Red Sox from the Mets back in December, Mazza made 17 total starts between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Syracuse last season. With Syracuse, the California native posted a 3.77 ERA and .234 batting average against over 13 starts and 74 innings of work.
By going with Mazza for Sunday night’s contest, Roenicke and Co. “are trying to be a little bit more specific” in terms of managing the club’s starting rotation. Through Boston’s first 20 games of the season, 10 different starting pitchers have already been used.
Following Mazza’s start on Sunday, the Red Sox will turn to left-hander Martin Perez on Monday to close out this series against New York before going with Zack Godley and rookie Kyle Hart in next week’s two-game set against the Phillies back at Fenway Park.
When asked about the struggles his pitching staff has endured so far this season, Roenicke acknowledged that it is certainly “more difficult to manage” when you don’t have five definitive starting pitchers and that the 2019 Red Sox “kind of went through the same thing.”
With that in mind, it’s Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for the Sox on Saturday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on FOX and WEEI.