Red Sox Recap: Rodriguez Back On Track, 4-3


The Boston Red Sox pitching staff is actually coming through. Well, at least the starting pitching, anyways.

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Eduardo Rodriguez, the young stud of a pitcher, has been roughed up in recent starts. Last night, however, in front of just over 29 000 screaming Toronto Blue Jays fans in the Rogers Centre, Rodriguez demonstrated why he was one of the top prospects in the Red Sox farm system.

His counterpart on the mound, Marco Estrada, couldn’t have been more hot as of late. Yet, he was the one who allowed first blood to be drawn in the battle.

In the top of the first inning, Estrada looked anything but dominant. After loading the bases, Red Sox veteran Mike Napoli Drew a walk to score leadoff man Mookie Betts. Alejandro De Aza decided to take a free stroll to first base as well, scoring Xander Bogaerts. Mercifully for Blue Jays fans, the inning ended with only those two runs as damage.

Then, the second inning started and Estrada was in trouble again. Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. homered to right field for a solo shot to lead off the inning. He worked Estrada to a 3-2 count and blasted 79-mph lame duck of a changeup over the fence.

Not to be outdone, designated hitter David Ortiz got in on the action by hitting a solo bomb of his own, to lead off the top of the third inning. Although it only took two pitches, this time, to get to the same changeup going at the same speed. A flyout and a single later, Estrada’s night was done. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons relieved him of his services by bringing in Todd Redmond. While Blue Jays fans likely gasped, as Redmond’s performances have not exactly been stellar lately, Estrada needed the hook. He already threw 73 pitches, 42 for strikes, in only 2.1 innings of work.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez was steadily making quick work of the Blue Jays lineup, the most potent offense in all of Major League Baseball. It was only in the bottom of the fourth inning that the young man on the mound felt any pressure. After Edwin Encarnacion doubled, Chris Colabello hit a hard single to center field to cash him for the first Blue Jays run of the game.

Rodriguez made it out of the inning and lasted until the start of the seventh inning. Before facing another hitter, Red Sox general manager John Farrell replaced him with relief pitcher Tommy Layne. The move may have proved costly, if Layne would have stayed in the game too long. After two groundouts sandwiched a single, Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes smacked a home run over the center field fence, scoring Kevin Pillar to bring the home side within one run. You could almost hear the collective groans of Red Sox Nation, except that they were interrupted by Farrell quickly replacing Layne with Alexi Ogando, who forced a groundout to end the threat.

Boston’s elderly closer Koji Uehara continued to look like the fountain of youth, coming into the game to start the ninth inning and proceeded to shut the door on any hope that the Toronto faithful were going to see their team tie the game. No late heroics came, as the Red Sox won 4-3.

Game Notes:

  • Betts had the most hits for the Red Sox, once again, earning two out of the team’s seven hits. His season batting average is now .273.
  • Catcher Blake Swihart went 0-for-4 and left five men on base.
  • Bradley went 1-for-3, with an RBI, a walk, a run, and a strikeout. His batting average sits at .133, although Bradley just recently got called up to the big club.
  • The Red Sox went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The Blue Jays went 2-for-9, with five batters left on base.


A. . Game Ball. Eduardo Rodriguez. STARTING PITCHING

Last night was a much different Eduardo Rodriguez than his last few outings. He went 6.0 innings, allowing a single run on four hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. He threw 97 pitches, 59 for strikes, and imposed seven Blue Jays groundouts to two flyouts, suggesting that Rodriguez was keeping his pitches low. The strategy seemed to work well, as most of the innings ended quickly. The Red Sox need this kind of start more than anything else. Rodriguez needs to learn the lesson that Joe Kelly learned the hard way: let the defense mop up for you, instead of forcing the issue by trying to strike everyone out.

RELIEF PITCHING . B-. . Game Ball. Koji Uehara

Not that Tommy Layne did so horrible, but the grade would have been much better if he didn’t enter the game. Both Ogando and Uehara blanked the Jays for 2.1 innings. Koji earned his 18th save of the season to earn the game ball, but it was a team effort to help Rodriguez earn the victory.

. Game Ball. Mookie Betts. OFFENSE . B-

Two men hit home runs, but did little else to contribute. Some people would argue that scoring runs is all that matters. Those people must not have seen how the Red Sox season has gone this year. They’ve been hitting home runs and still losing games. Getting on base and causing constant pressure on the starting pitchers has been much more valuable, especially for a team that was built to take pitches and try to knock starters out of games early. Betts did that, although just slightly better than the rest of the team. The only reason why this grade is that high is because they did score four runs. If it wasn’t for Estrada’s problems with the strike zone to start the game, however, the game would have been 3-2 in favor of the Blue Jays. The Red Sox need more people getting on base, instead of relying on the long ball.

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