Red Sox Recap: Eduardo Rodriguez Pitches Well, Still Loses 2-1

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The Boston Red Sox were locked in a tough battle against the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium, last night. Some people may not have expected such a low-scoring affair with veteran CC Sabathia struggling so much this season and with rookie Eduardo Rodriguez possibly faltering against experienced Bronx Bomber bats. However, the two men gave it their all, with Sabathia showing profane passion from his mouth the likes of which we haven’t seen in years. This game meant something to everyone and, in the end, it reminded everyone watching why they love the hated rivalry.

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Both lineups put some pressure on the starting pitchers, but both men got themselves out of trouble. It wasn’t until the bottom of the third inning that the seal was broken off of the scoreboard. Yankees’ prodigal son Alex Rodriguez continued his comeback success by smacking a double that scored Brett Gardner to take a 1-0 lead.

The Red Sox answered in the top of the fifth inning with another fortunate bounce, having he same luck from the night before. Rusney Castillo, recently put on the waiver market, drove a ball that kicked off of Yankees shortstop Didi Gregarious’ foot into center field, allowing Ryan Hanigan to score and tie the game.

That would be all for Sabathia, as the grit from the veteran poured out of him for six innings, showing that he wasn’t washed up just yet. He allowed just one run on three hits, three walks, and eight strikeouts.

The stalemate was broken in the bottom of the seventh inning, possibly in a display that showed why Yankees manager Joe Girardi is more respected, in the press and social media worlds at least, than Red Sox manager John Farrell. While Girardi pulled his starter out of the game just as he was showing signs of fatigue, Farrell left his starter in the game to fac the heart of the Yankees’ batting order. In Farrell’s defence, Rodriguez was looking pretty good, even though his pitches were a bit higher in that inning than any other point in the night.

With one out and a 2-1 count, Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury absolutely hammered his fifth home run of the season over the right-field fence. Rodriguez got out of the inning, but the damage had been done.

Yankees closer Andrew Miller, a former Red Sox reliever, came into the game in the top of the ninth to finish off Boston’s hopes of a victory. After two outs, however, it looked like Miller was going to buckle under the pressure. Travis Shaw came in to pinch-hit and slapped a soft hit to left field. The play seemed to rattle Miller because he threw four straight balls to Jackie Bradley Jr., almost hitting the ground in front of the plate each time. The walk put the tying run into scoring position, which triggered a stern look from Girardi to his pitching coach who took the hint and ran quickly to the mound for a coach’s visit. The move worked as Miller threw three straight strikes down the middle of the plate to Castillo who struck out to end the threat and the game, 2-1.

Ellsbury’s home run had everything about the rivalry captured in one moment. We have a former Red Sox player, some of Red Sox Nation considers a turncoat, with the symbolic dagger plunged into their hearts late in the game, after watching their young star shining brightly for so long. He dodged bullet after bullet all night only to be punished severely for his trouble, ala Leonardo DiCaprio in the Bostonian backdrop of The Departed. It made fans sick to their stomachs to see it happen and it makes them want revenge, driving them to want to see another game between these two teams. Maybe next time Rodriguez strikes out Ellsbury and shuts the door on the Yankees. Maybe not. Regardless, it’s not about how many titles the two teams have won, as so many Yankee fans like to bring up about the rivalry; it’s about the feud that seems more like the Hatfields and the McCoys, seeing former brothers on opposite sides doing battle. There is a respect level there, even if nobody wants to admit it, and that’s what drives both sides to watch it again and again, despite the standings.

Game Notes:

  • The Red Sox went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base. The Yankees went 0-for-4 with 7 men left on base.
  • Neither Xander Bogaerts, David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Pablo Sandoval, nor Josh Rutledge got any hits.
  • Castillo went 1-for-5 with an RBI and three strikeouts. His batting average sits at .267.
  • Bradley went 1-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout. His average is a meagre .118.
  • Hanley Ramirez, an adventure on defence as usual, went 1-for-4 and sits at a .260 batting average.

Grades:

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

Even though he took the loss, Rodriguez battled like a warrior. He allowed two runs on six hits, two walks, and five strikeouts in seven full innings. The Yankee fans were yelling and screaming for Rodriguez to fail every time New York had a base runner. He held his composure. Even when he gave up the game-winning home run, he let off steam but recovered quickly, wanting to get back on the mound instead of dwelling on the past. Any other night we could have been discussing a Rodriguez win just as easily, if the offence would have given him more run support.

Game Ball. <b>Robbie Ross Jr.</b>. RELIEF PITCHING . A.

The game hinged on that fateful seventh inning and the lack of Red Sox hits throughout. However, Ross took care of his one inning of work, striking out an opposing batter and keeping the Red Sox in the game for a possible comeback in the top of the ninth, which never ended up happening.

. Game Ball. <b>Ryan Hanigan &amp;</b> <b>Jackie Bradley Jr.</b>. OFFENCE . D+

It’s hard to believe that a man earning only one hit and two walks could share the game ball, unless you saw last night’s game. Hanigan and Bradley found ways to get on base to provide pressure on the Yankee pitchers. Castillo’s hit was more of luck than a true hit, thereby making the RBI needed but, possibly, not deserved. The team couldn’t do much against Sabathia, who was on fire, or any of the other pitchers, begging the question of whether Farrell’s strategy of taking pitches to knock out opposing starters works. The club can’t even sniff a hit against supposedly weaker opposition. That’s more on the players than Farrell, but you got to make some adjustments when your team doesn’t respond properly.

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