Eduardo Rodriguez impressed Tuesday in his start for Pawtucket, but his position in the Boston Red Sox starting rotation is still in question.
Eduardo Rodriguez performed well in his successful rehab start in Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday, as the 23-year old continues his recovery from a knee injury sustained in the early part of Spring Training. While not having played in the majors since 2015, the lefty is proving his worth in the minors. The question is will his worth be enough to secure a spot in the starting rotation?
Rodriguez came off a decent 2015 campaign (10-6 3.85 ERA) only to be shut down before the 2016 season started with a right patella subluxation. In the minors, Rodriguez is winless (0-3), despite a respectable 3.54 ERA and 1.14 WHIP.
While he did not earn the win Tuesday night, he surely made his mark. His seven innings of four hit, one run baseball were not enough to earn a decision, as the Pawtucket Red Sox struggled offensively. Fortunately for Rodriguez, his overall performance will be the focus point of the Red Sox organization, rather than the decision or lack there of. He has shown improvement over the month of rehab in Triple-A, and his call-up to the big leagues appears inevitable.
Rodriguez has not made a bullpen appearance in over four years, dating back to rookie ball in 2011, so it’s safe to assume Rodriguez comes back as a starter. Whether that’s next week or next month depends on the reliability of the major league rotation as much as his own performance in the minors. It’s also safe to say the young lefty won’t be taking David Price‘s spot in the rotation, and Rick Porcello‘s position seems secure as well. That leaves Steven Wright, Joe Kelly, and Clay Buchholz in the danger zone for their spots to be snatched away from the up-and-coming Rodriguez.
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Wright enjoyed a solid performance yet again on Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies to bring his ERA to a crisp 2.52. The Red Sox have relied on the 31-year old in two complete games this year to give the bullpen much needed rest. The knuckleballer’s unique repertoire and recent success are enough to keep him in the starting rotation for the time being.
Kelly’s resurgence to the big leagues started with a near no-hitter, which he brought to the 7th inning. Kelly’s 5.28 ERA is due in part to the lack of production before being rehabbing an injured shoulder for nearly a month. While Kelly’s job is not assured in the long-term, his recent accomplishments certainly will keep him in a Boston Red Sox jersey for now.
Buchholz has gotten off to a slow start in 2016. Recent struggles against the Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros have placed Buchholz into a dangerous position. His atrocious 5.92 ERA paired with a lousy 1.47 WHIP gives the Red Sox no reason to trust him going forward.
Rodriguez is set to make another minor league start Sunday, where he can prove whether he deserves major league time now or later. Hitting has been the rock for the Red Sox this year, taking a load off an average pitching staff (17th in ERA). It goes without saying that offensively, this is a truly special start (1st in runs).
In order to keep the wins rolling all the way through October, the pitching staff needs to be improved. The addition of Eduardo Rodriguez to the rotation could do just that.