scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Four-seam fastball is Brayan Bello’s undoing against Athletics’ lefty sluggers

Brayan Bello saw a run of seven consecutive quality starts end on Wednesday against the Athletics.Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

OAKLAND — The last homer by Jace Peterson in the fourth inning ultimately put an end to Brayan Bello’s forgettable day Wednesday.

He put his hand on his hip before walking behind the mound at the Oakland Coliseum. He picked up the rosin bag — he needed something to do — before tossing it back on the dirt.

Bello allowed three homers — all two-run shots — in the Red Sox’ 6-5 loss Wednesday to the Athletics to drop the series.

JJ Bleday hit the first two-run homer in the first. Then Cody Thomas followed in the second. After a clean third, Peterson got into the mix.


There was a trend: all three were lefties. With the exception of Thomas, who saw a changeup, Bello relinquished the other four-baggers on four-seamers, a pitch that has plagued him against lefties.

Bello has allowed five career homers on four-seamers to lefthanders and four on all other pitches combined. For as remarkable as Bello has been, posting seven straight quality starts prior to Wednesday, there’s still a process to his development at 24 years old. It’s one the Athletics, as bad as they are, took advantage of Wednesday.

“It’s a work in progress, because obviously we need to go up with the four-seamer at some point,” manager Alex Cora said. “You cannot leave downstairs, sinker, changeup, sinker, changeup. Obviously the slider is developing, the cutter is developing now.”

When Bello was called up at the end of last season, the Red Sox wanted him to throw up in the zone with his four-seamer. It’s where he could induce more swings and misses while changing the eye level of the hitters. Hitters are batting .227 against his four-seamer this year compared to .378 last season. That’s progress. But when it comes to slugging, lefties have still been able to find the seats.


“We’re just developing a new pitch to go up against the lefthanders,” Bello said through a translator. “I need that pitch to be able to set up some of my other pitches. It’s a work in progress.”

Wong catching on

Wednesday marked Connor Wong’s 11th start behind the dish in 13 games in July.

With Reese McGuire (oblique) still on the injured list, Wong has had to carry much of the load. Jorge Alfaro, who got the starting nod in Tuesday’s loss, doesn’t provide the same assurance behind the plate.

“I think it’s the same,” said Wong of adjusting to his increased playing time. “I’ve just been sticking to the routine, the process. Not trying to really overthink it, getting ready to play a game every day.

Wong’s workload is something the Sox are paying close attention to, but Cora said Thursday’s and Monday’s off days will help him reset. Wong came into Wednesday hitting .343/.368/.457 with an .826 OPS in July.

“He’s been swinging the bat well, which is good,” Cora said. “And I think he’s handling [playing more] well. We will keep talking.”

Wong was 0 for 2 with two walks and a run scored Wednesday.

Eddie Bressoud (far left) in 1964 with Red Sox teammates Chuck Schilling (from left), Frank Malzone, and Dick Stuart. Globe file photo Paul J. Maguire

Bressoud, former shortstop, dies at 91

Former Red Sox shortstop Eddie Bressoud, an All-Star in 1964, died last week of cerebellar ataxia in California. He was 91.

Bressoud was acquired from the Houston Colt .45s before the 1962 season for shortstop Don Buddin. Bressoud hit .270 over four seasons as the team’s everyday shortstop, receiving MVP votes in 1962 and ‘64.


Bressoud, a righthanded pull hitter, was a good fit for the Sox. But with rookie Rico Petrocelli ready to take over at shortstop, Bressoud was traded to the Mets after the 1965 season.

In all, Bressoud played parts of 12 seasons in the majors for the Giants, Sox, Mets, and Cardinals. He retired after helping St. Louis win the 1967 World Series.

Kike Hernandez's roster spot may be in jeopardy when Pablo Reyes returns from his rehab assignment.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Sale set to throw bullpen

Chris Sale (shoulder) will throw another bullpen this weekend, followed by two live batting practices. If all goes well, Sale will start a rehab assignment after the two live BPs … McGuire (oblique) will likely begin a rehab assignment around July 25, Cora said … Pablo Reyes (oblique) will continue his rehab assignment through the weekend as he continues to get reps in the outfield. If the Sox activate Reyes, it will require a player to be removed from the 26-man roster. Kiké Hernández, who played in his 1,000th career game Wednesday, is a candidate. Cora said a decision will be made leading up to the Sox’ series with the Braves, which starts Tuesday … Tayler Scott was claimed off waivers by the A’s. Scott appeared in 10 games this year for the Red Sox and posted a 7.45 ERA. He was designated for assignment Sunday … Righthander Jake Faria, who was recently designated for assignment, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple A Worcester, the team announced.

Julian McWilliams can be reached at Follow him @byJulianMack.