Red Sox: Eduardo Rodriguez is key to a deep postseason run
This season Eduardo Rodriguez has become the fourth ace the Boston Red Sox needed. Thanks to his career season thus far the Red Sox may be more primed than ever for a deep postseason run.
When the Boston Red Sox traded for Chris Sale in December 2016 the baseball world went crazy about the newly assembled big three that also included Rick Porcello and David Price. However, no one would’ve thought the big three would turn into a big four over time.
Eduardo Rodriguez has made a strong case for himself to be known as the fourth member of the Red Sox established big three. The 25-year-old lefty has brought a lift to the back end of the Red Sox starting rotation. As a matter of fact, the Red Sox own a .929 winning percentage when Rodriguez is on the bump.
Rodriguez’s numbers are impressive on their own. If he continues this pace then he is well on his way to setting career highs in nearly every statistic. He’s not only on his way to setting career highs but also ranking among the best in the AL this season. He’s currently first in the AL in win percentage (.900), eighth in K/9 (10.43), 20th in the in ERA (3.59), 23rd in OBP (.300) and 25th in BB/9 (2.78) and H/9 (8.34).
Coming off of the DL at the start of the season I’m not sure if many people expected Rodriguez to pitch this well. As the unsung hero, he hasn’t gotten much attention, which may benefit himself and the team. However, consider his past 19 starts when compared to those of James Paxton‘s, who has gained a noticeable amount of media attention this season.
Not only is this season a boost to Rodriguez’s career, it’s also a boost to the Red Sox starting rotation. Everyone knows what Sale, Price, and Porcello bring to the table. However, to make a deep postseason run it will take more than those three. That’s where Rodriquez has come in to play.
Consider the last World Series run the Red Sox had in 2013. Jon Lester had the ace role such as Sale has had the past two seasons. Price is having a solid season as the number two such as Clay Buchholz had in 2013. Rick Porcello has been consistent all season such as John Lackey was in 2013 (minus his 10-13 record).
Then there was the play of Jake Peavy as the number four pitcher that helped put the Red Sox over the hump. That would be where Rodriguez is this season. He’s playing the role of a back-end pitcher who’s pitching like an ace.
Now, I’m sure many people would be quick to turn to the offense as the reason for a deep postseason run. However, consider the past two offenses the Red Sox have had.
In 2016, the Red Sox led the league in runs, batting average and hits just to name a few. Yet they were swept in the ALDS.
Now jump to last season. The Red Sox were top 10 in runs and hits and tied for 12th in batting average. Once again, they were defeated in the ALDS.
The point being is that offense can only take a team so far. It’s pitching that carries teams further into the postseason. Also, it’s important to note that the Red Sox pitching hasn’t been bad the past two seasons. However, they were not as deep as this year thanks to the way Rodriguez is pitching.
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Red Sox have a championship offense. The bats have proven they can win games for the team. However, when having to face pitching staffs such as the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees in the playoffs the Red Sox need to be able to match up. Sale can match up with anyone. Price and Porcello are reliable starters behind Sale. If there were concerns from Red Sox Nation in terms of the number four starter, they should now be gone.
Rodriguez has come to form this season and at a perfect time. When Drew Pomeranz failed to meet expectations it has been Rodriguez there to settle down the fans. Thanks to his career season thus far it looks as if Rodriguez has the Red Sox as primed as ever to make a World Series run.