Red Sox Recap: Eduardo Rodriguez Wins Debut Vs. Rangers


Often, the news in baseball comes from the big hitters, the veterans raking home runs and RBIs. Last night, however, the Boston Red Sox made news by debuting Eduardo Rodriguez, after his call-up from the minors, to start against the Texas Rangers, a team that went 8-2 in their last 10 games. Rodriguez did more than just debut; he baffled the Rangers’ bats.

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In front of just over 34 000 fans in Globe Life Park, in Arlington, Texas, the clouds hung over the Rangers’ heads as they tried to figure out how to get their offense going against the 22-year-old from Venezuela. Nick Martinez took the mound first, as the counterpart to Rodriguez. Martinez came into the game with four wins and no losses in nine starts, desperate to have more run support to be on the line for more victories.

For Martinez, the game started fairly easy, except for hitting Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts with a pitch in the top of the second inning. The mistake was quickly remedied with a double play to end the threat. The same went for Rodriguez, whose only blemish was in the bottom of the second inning, with a double by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, whom recently returned to the team earlier this week.

Martinez was also sharp on defense, as he picked off Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts, quite easily, at first base. Betts tried to avoid the tag, but he moved far off the baseline and was called out. As far as the Red Sox on defense, being hit by that pitch took Bogaerts out of the game in the top of the fourth inning, replaced by Carlos Peguero. The report by is that Bogaerts left with a bruised left forearm, as “Bogaerts was in visible pain after getting hit.” He tried toughing it out, as trainers worked on him, but the injury was enough for him to leave the game. Brock Holt, later, was moved to shortstop, while Peguero stayed in the game as the left fielder.

All was fairly quiet on the Texas front, until the top of the fifth inning. After two singles sandwiched a Boston strikeout, Betts drove a single to left field, which cashed in catcher Blake Swihart. In the top of the sixth inning, Hanley Ramirez, who replaced the struggling David Ortiz as the designated hitter for the game, smashed a solo home run over the left-center field fence. It was his 11th of the season.

Martinez came out of the game before the start of the eighth inning. He gave up two earned runs on nine hits, two walks, and five strikeouts. Not a terrible game, by any means, but not as good as the youngster on Boston.

The Rangers sent in relief pitcher Tanner Scheppers, hoping that the game was still close enough for the Rangers to finally jump on Rodriguez, whom was still pitching. Scheppers was greeted by Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval singling to center field on an 0-2 pitch.

Even though Ramirez followed that up with grounding into a double play, the Rangers were in trouble after that. Scheppers walked first baseman Mike Napoli on a full count, which brought out Sam Freeman to relieve him. Freeman didn’t fare much better, as he proceeded to plunk Holt and had his catcher Robinson Chirinos have a passed ball, which moved both runners into scoring position. After Peguero walked, Swihart then singled to right field to score Napoli and Holt. Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo followed suit, as he singled past second base to score Peguero.

The Red Sox went into the inning with a 2-0 lead and went to the bottom half with a 5-0 lead.

After Rodriguez struck out the first two Rangers in the bottom of the eighth inning, he finally had to deal with some pressure. Rodriguez walked Chirinos and allowed Delino DeShields to single sharply to left field. Red Sox general manager John Farrell saw enough and brought in Tommy Layne to relieve his young starter. Layne struck out the next batter on three pitches to quell any hope of a Rangers comeback.

Layne was not as successful in the bottom of the ninth inning, as he allowed former Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre to double to right field. That play set the table for Hamilton to drive him home on a single in the same direction. After striking out Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland, Koji Uehara was brought in to replace Layne for the final out, a liner to right field that was quickly caught.

Rodriguez earned the victory, his first of his MLB career, while Martinez was given the loss. Cody Stavenhagen of reported David Ortiz saying how his pregame discussion with Rodriguez went:

"“We had a long talk in the dugout … He was telling me that before the first pitch, his heart was about to pump out of his chest.”"

Rodriguez may have been nervous, but he didn’t show it on the mound. “‘When you get a left-hander who’s got that kind of pitch mix — I want to be careful how far I get out there — but these types of guys don’t come along all that often,’ Red Sox manager John Farrell said. ‘I think when you combine the abilities with the presence and poise on the mound, just a very solid beginning.'”

Game Notes:

  • The Red Sox combined for 13 hits, 5 RBIs, and 5 walks. However, they went 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
  • Both second baseman Dustin Pedroia and Betts, who are first and second to hit, went 3-for-5, last night. While Betts drove in a run, neither man crossed home plate, themselves.
  • Ortiz had the night off, and he was seen on television looking at pictures of his lead foot in the batter’s box, in previous games. The game commentators discussed how his stance may be what has him struggling at the plate, lately.
  • Ramirez’s home run was his first in over the last 15 games, as well as his second RBI in the same stretch.
  • Napoli is still seeing the ball well, going 1-for-3 and two walks at the plate, keeping his batting average at .211 for the season.
  • Both top prospect call-ups, Swihart and Castillo, earned RBIs on the night. Swihart went 2-for-4 and earned 2 RBIs.


A+. . Game Ball. <b>Eduardo Rodriguez</b>. STARTING PITCHING

He threw 105 pitches, 68 for strikes, in 7.2 innings of work. He allowed only three hits and two walks, while striking out seven mystified Rangers. The key was Rodriguez’s ability to either get a strikeout or a grounder for the defense to handle. Rodriguez got 10 Rangers to ground out, while only two of them were fly outs. None of the Rangers were driving the ball with any real venom, except for Hamilton. Rodriguez looked very impressive in his first start, giving Red Sox Nation much hope for the future. Are we happy that we didn’t send him off in a trade for an ‘ace’ veteran pitcher, now?

A-. . Game Ball. <b>Tommy Layne</b>. RELIEF PITCHING

Uehara only faced one batter, which was a quick out. Layne actually had to hold the Rangers at bay, when they finally started to threaten with a scoring opportunity. Layne quelled the storm, but did allow a run in the ninth inning, on two hits and two strikeouts.

A. . Game Ball. <strong>Hanley Ramirez &amp; Mookie Betts</strong>. OFFENSE

You could make the argument that Swihart deserves the game ball, because he had two RBIs on the night, the most of any player on the team. You could argue that Pedroia deserves recognition, because of his three leadoff hits. However, Betts’ three hits that got him on the base paths caused all kinds of anarchy, including his triple that was challenged and upheld, in the top of the ninth inning. Ramirez’s home run also helped knock Martinez out of the game, so that the Red Sox could feast against the Texas bullpen. Now, if Boston could be more successful at the plate with runners in scoring position, they could take advantage of all of those base hits early in future innings.

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