Red Sox: Mixed reviews on starts for lefties Drew Pomeranz, Eduardo Rodriguez

The Boston Red Sox Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez made their first starts of the season. A mixed result that means little unless it is repeated.

Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez both made their first starts of the season on Sunday. For Rodriguez, it was in Boston and for Pomeranz, the venue was McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket. Both pitchers had one thing in common in the frigid ballparks – elevated pitch counts.

Rodriguez lasted a mere 3.2 innings in which he tossed 92 pitches for 55 strikes. E-Rod walked a pair and put down seven on strikeouts. Nothing dramatic about all three figures since Rodriguez has a propensity for high pitch counts that translate to a career 3.1 BB/9 and 8.6 K/9. Rodriguez allowed five hits and the only one that represented any true mashing was a home run by C.J. Cron.

The outing was both disappointing and promising. Rodriguez used his three major pitches – a fastball, change, and slider – with the heater registering 93 MPH.

One item of note is the home run by Cron represented the only fly ball off E-Rod who has a career 36.8 GB%. So, a disappointment since E-Rod didn’t make it through four, but the knee managed to hold up. The next start will give a greater perspective.

Pomeranz lasted 4.1 innings in his first trial run as the lefty faced off against Lehigh Valley. The one item that catches your attention is six walks issued against a lone strikeout.

Pomeranz allowed both of his earned runs in the first inning on a two-run shot by Collin Cowgill. As with Rodriguez, the issue was the pitch count. For Pomeranz the day showed 85 pitches for just 47 strikes. Whereas Rodriguez put his team in a 3-1 hole, Pomeranz left with a 4-2 lead.

Pomeranz also kept the ball on the ground in his first rehab start with seven ground ball outs and just one fly ball out. Last season, Pomeranz posted a 43.2 GB% on his way to 17 wins. And those walks? Reminiscent of 2017 when Pomeranz had a 3.6 BB/9. Both pitchers have frustrated fans and undoubtedly managers with walks. Nothing seems to have changed in this very early sample.

When will Pomeranz join the rotation? Rodriguez is set, and the methodology is to see how deep he goes before turning over the ball to Hector Velazquez. My assumption is that Brian Johnson will be waiting in the bullpen when Pomeranz makes his first Boston start and that may be on the next road trip unless one more rehab start is determined to be necessary.

Both Johnson and Velazquez impressed in their lone starts this season, but with scheduling quirks and the rotation depth chart they will provide support until either Pomeranz or Rodriguez – or both – lose the confidence of manager Alex Cora.