Braves-Red Sox Preview

The last time Steven Wright pitched, David Price got roughed up the day before and put plenty of pressure on the knuckleballer to spare the bullpen.

Circumstances will be different for the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night, and the Atlanta Braves lineup Wright faces is far from imposing as the Red Sox try to carry their success in Atlanta back to Boston.

The Red Sox (11-9) won both games in Atlanta and put Tuesday's 11-4 win about out of reach with a four-run first inning as Price made it through eight. Travis Shaw was 2 for 5 with a three-run homer, double and five RBIs, while Xander Bogaerts went 3 for 5 to give Boston its 10th win in the last 12 meetings.

Atlanta (4-16) has lost seven straight after starting the season on a nine-game slide. The Braves are 12 games under .500 in 20 games or fewer for the third time in franchise history after they started 3-15 in 1988 and went 3-15 with a tie in 1914.

While Atlanta's 4.85 ERA is among the worst in baseball, much of it falls on the offense. The Braves have averaged 2.14 runs on the most recent skid and are batting .227 for the season with nonexistent power. Tuesday was their 15th straight game without a home run, which they last topped on a 16-game drought in September 1946 as the Boston Braves. Every other team has at least four times their total of three for the season.

The 1975 California Angels are the only other team in the expansion era - since 1961 - to have hit as few as three home runs while playing 20 or more games in April.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez is making no guarantees the power numbers will get a substantial boost on a team that lacks home run hitters.

"The home run stuff, you can't teach that," Gonzalez said.

Wright (1-2, 1.40 ERA), who had made 11 career starts before this season, gave up an unearned run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings of Friday's 6-2 victory in Houston.

"He's been the most consistent starter without question," manager John Farrell told MLB's official website.

However, the 31-year-old right-hander walked five after issuing three walks in 12 2/3 innings of his first two starts, and three of those came in his final inning to deny him from completing the seventh.

"It's something I don't think I can ever live with, because there's no way to defend a walk, and so I feel like that's why I got so frustrated," Wright said.

Bud Norris (1-3, 6.75) has done nothing to bolster the Braves' rotation. The right-hander has allowed at least four runs in his last three starts without going beyond 5 1/3 innings and gave up four earned runs and five hits in four innings of Friday's 6-3 home loss to the New York Mets. Norris has yielded five home runs in those three outings, and his opponent OPS is at .877.

One of the two he allowed in the most recent start followed two walks to set up a grand slam, and Norris has issued 3.80 walks per nine innings through his four starts with his new club.

"I didn't help myself," Norris said.

He saw plenty of the Red Sox while with Baltimore and is 0-3 with a 3.09 ERA in four starts at Fenway Park. All five runs he gave up in a 5-1 loss there June 24 were unearned.

Hanley Ramirez is 8 for 17 in their matchups, but Chris Young (2 for 17) and Bogaerts (2 for 12) have struggled.