Boston right-hander Brayan Bello isn't close to arbitration eligibility, yet his impressive pitching has the Red Sox already thinking about offering the second-year player a contract extension
Bello is 7-5 with a 3.14 ERA this season, and he has been even more impressive lately, going 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA in his past six starts. He is scheduled to pitch Wednesday afternoon in Oakland in the rubber game of a three-game set against the Athletics
Opposing Bello will be Oakland left-hander Ken Waldichuk (2-6, 6.66 ERA).
With the exception of a three-batter hiccup by opener Joe Jacques on Tuesday, the Red Sox have pitched brilliantly in the first two games against the A's, winning 7-0 on Monday before falling 3-0 in the rematch
Bello is 2-0 in July, having beaten the visiting Texas Rangers before the All-Star break and then the host Chicago Cubs in his first start back.
The 24-year-old has been so impressive of late, Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero acknowledged this week that the club would consider locking up Bello for years to come
"It's all case by case. There's no guidebook for it," Romero said. "But I think Brayan is a special case, and we'll make efforts to talk to him and his group. He's basically done what he needs to do and what we would want of a young starting pitcher in this organization.
"And he's gone about it the right way -- he's a great teammate and he's improved the quality of his repertoire. He's a very hard worker, and he's earned the respect of everybody here. So he's the kind we want to stick around, obviously."
Bello has never faced the A's.
The up-and-comer will see an A's team that, despite the split, has struggled mightily against Red Sox pitching in the series. Nick Pivetta set a Boston franchise record for a reliever with 13 strikeouts in six innings during the Monday win, a game in which the A's got just one hit
Ryan Noda, who got that single in the first inning on Monday, added a double and a home run on Tuesday. However, Oakland got just five other hits while striking out nine times in the win, which snapped the Athletics' eight-game losing streak
A's right-hander Luis Medina paved the way to the victory with 5 2/3 shutout innings. Waldichuk hopes to duplicate that success.
On Friday, the 25-year-old made his first start since June 20 in the Athletics' first game out of the break, getting a no-decision in a 5-4 home loss to the Minnesota Twins. Waldichuk allowed three runs on three hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out five
Waldichuk threw 1 1/3 innings of relief in Boston in the final game of the first half on July 9, taking a loss when he allowed the tiebreaking run in a 4-3 defeat. It was the only time he has faced the Red Sox in his career
Whatever transpires, A's manager Mark Kotsay hopes to be able to see the entirety of it after getting ejected five batters into the Tuesday game. He was tossed for disputing a running-out-of-the-baseline call on Tony Kemp as the Oakland left fielder attempted to score in the first inning.
"It's not the best of places to watch a game from," Kotsay of being banished to the clubhouse for the duration of the 2-hour, 15-minute contest. "It felt like it took four hours, but it felt good to get a win."
--Field Level Media