Not even rookie revelation Eduardo Rodriguez could prevent the Red Sox losing their sixth consecutive game today. After absolutely dominating in his first three starts, surrendering just 1 run in his first 20.2 innings at the MLB level, the Red Sox appeared to have a rare positive pitching matchup today with Rodriguez facing Marco Estrada of the Blue Jays. However, things did not work out as planned for Rodriguez and the Red Sox, resulting in a blowout loss and second consecutive series sweep.
For the first three innings of the game, the game took on the appearance of a pitching duel. After the Red Sox squandered a bases-loaded opportunity in the first inning, neither team was able to muster anything significant (each team hit a single) until the top of the fourth. That’s when it got ugly for Rodriguez.
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The Blue Jays cracked three consecutive singles to start the inning, with an RBI single off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion marking the first run of the game. Rodriguez appeared to be working some magic when he induced an easy grounder to Dustin Pedroia, who quickly turned and threw to shortstop Xander Bogaerts to start a double play. However, a hard slide from Encarnacion prevented the Red Sox from getting more than an out on the play. A Russell Martin single and a Danny Valencia walk later and the Blue Jays had a 2-0 lead with the bases loaded and just one out. Once again, tough breaks on defense gifted Toronto a run as Kevin Pillar hit a blooper over the head of Dustin Pedroia, who looked to be in position before the sun got in his eyes and the ball dropped. However, the undeniable key hit of the inning came off the bat of ninth hitter Ryan Goins, who crushed a three-run homer into the bullpen to give the Blue Jays a 6-0 lead.
Despite that tough inning, John Farrell kept Rodriguez in the game to start the fifth. Rodriguez coasted through the first two batters of the inning, but then after walking Encarnacion with two outs, bad defense hurt the young lefty once again. Another dropped popup off the bat of Chris Colabello allowed Encarnacion to score from first base, then Colabello scored after Hanley Ramirez had trouble picking up a double by Russell Martin.
That’s when Farrell was forced to make the call and remove Rodriguez from the game. However, his replacement Steven Wright didn’t fare much better as Valencia hit a two-run homer to give Toronto a 10-0 lead on Wright’s very first pitch. Wright was able to escape the inning down only a ten spot, though.
Boston’s offensive fortune turned in the bottom of the fifth, as the Red Sox placed runners at the corners with no outs. Dustin Pedroia hit a single to center field, scoring Rusney Castillo to put the Red Sox on the board and then a Hanley Ramirez single scored Blake Swihart to make it two. The major blow of the inning came off the bat of David Ortiz, who destroyed a 2-2 fastball from Estrada to cut Toronto’s lead to 10-5.
Unfortunately, the bottom of the fifth would prove to be the only bright spot of the game for the Red Sox. Wright was able to throw a scoreless sixth inning before running into trouble again in the seventh, allowing three runs to score on back-to-back RBI doubles from Goins and Jose Reyes. That would push the lead to 13-5, an advantage that would be insurmountable for the Red Sox, who would drop their sixth consecutive game and fall to 27-37 on the season.
This concludes the series with the Blue Jays and the Red Sox will stay at home for the first two games of a series against the Braves, who will send Williams Perez (2-0, 2.70 ERA) to the mound against Boston’s Rick Porcello (4-6, 5.26 ERA).
- Whether due to ineffectiveness or a lack of confidence, Rodriguez essentially abandoned his slider today. This is a concerning development as Rodriguez has been hailed for having three quality pitches and this makes two straight games without a consistent third offering for E-Rod. Hopefully today’s results were a product of a bad bullpen outing or a lack of action on his slider rather than any longterm testament to his slider’s success.
- Pablo Sandoval continued his recent hot streak at the plate, going 2-4 with a triple today and raising his average to .256 on the season.
- Blake Swihart reached base twice today, marking his sixth straight start where he has reached base. That is a positive step for the rookie, who has struggled in his first taste of major league action but now appears to be rounding into form.
Rodriguez’s stat line speaks for itself today: 4.2 innings pitched, 8 hits, 9 earned runs, 3 walks, and 1 strikeout. He was able to get by unharmed for the first three innings, but in the second time through the order, the Blue Jays absolutely crushed him. Hopefully he and his slider are back to form in his next start.
Hembree was able to give the Red Sox a couple of quality innings in a mopup role today. He allowed two hits while throwing scoreless ball in the eighth and ninth innings.
Big Papi was one of few bright spots in today’s game, reaching base three times and hitting a majestic three-run home run. However, it’s a shame that his performance against left-handers has grown so poor that Farrell pinch hit with Sandy Leon for the last out of the game.