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Michael Wacha Has Been Quite The Surprise For Red Sox

BOSTON (CBS) -- Not a whole lot has gone right for the Red Sox this season. But the addition of Michael Wacha certainly has.

The 30-year-old right-hander signed with the Red Sox last November without much fanfare, but through a month of the season he counts as one of the biggest surprises in all of baseball.

Wacha improved to 3-0 on Tuesday night pitching 5.2 shutout innings against the Angels, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out two batters in a highly efficient 60-pitch outing.

Wacha has now picked up wins in each of his last three starts, and he's been one of the best pitchers in baseball since the start of the season. He owns a 1.38 ERA with a 0.923 WHIP, and batters are hitting just .148 with a .467 OPS against him.

"It's been great. I feel good on the mound," Wacha said. "There's definitely some stuff I can still work on and get better. Walking two guys before you get [Mike] Trout up there is not something I recommend. But there's definitely things I can keep working on, but the first month was good. It's all about building off this next start and continuing to take that into the next one. Hopefully you just keep providing a start for our guys that we have the opportunity to win a ballgame."

Considering Wacha was 10-16 with a 5.11 ERA in 66 appearances (54 starts) over the past three years with the Cardinals, Mets and Rays, it's safe to say a performance like this one wasn't exactly predicted. Yet manager Alex Cora said that Wacha's strong finish to the 2021 season -- when he had a 2.88 ERA across 34.1 innings in his final seven appearances -- caught the Red Sox' attention.

"He's been great. We talk about what he's doing this season, but what he did towards the end of the season last year was impressive," Cora said after Tuesday's 4-0 win. "It caught our attention, and so far, he's been great."

Cora did compliment the defense being played behind Wacha, and the pitcher's opposing BABIP of .162 suggests that some hits may soon be coming to balance out this hot start. Regardless, Cora indicated that the success thus far in the season has been the result of the work put in by Wacha.

"Everybody knows about him, right, he came into the scene in 2013, and the way he pitched and what he did for [the St. Louis] organization, getting to a World Series, it was eye-opening," Cora said. "And I do believe -- he's only 30, too. So he prepares, he understands, he wants information, and he wants to keep getting better."

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