Boston Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez let his emotions get the better of him on the World Series stage but he now says he’s learned from the mistake.
There aren’t many regrettable moments from a World Series that the Boston Red Sox ultimately won in five games but there’s one that Eduardo Rodriguez would like to have back.
Rodriguez wasn’t originally scheduled to start Game 4. The Red Sox turned to him out of desperation following an 18-inning marathon in which Nathan Eovaldi logged six innings in relief to salvage the bullpen.
The lefty cruised through the first five innings, carving up the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup with a series of fastballs, cutters, and the occasional changeup. E-Rod was in a position to become an unlikely hero until his outing quickly unraveled in the sixth.
He hit a batter, allowed a double and intentionally walked one to load the bases with one out. A fielder’s choice nailed the runner coming home, setting Rodriguez up with a chance to escape without any damage. Then Christian Vazquez‘ throw went astray, allowing the game’s first run to cross the plate. Instead of an inning-ending double play, the Red Sox were suddenly playing from behind.
The real damage would come next courtesy of Yasiel Puig. After falling behind in the count 3-1, Rodriguez left a meatball over the middle of the plate that Puig crushed into the left field seats to put the Dodgers up 4-0. A disgusted Rodriguez slammed his glove on the ground before the ball even landed while Puig showboated around the bases.
Rodriguez took some heat for his temper tantrum on the mound but he now looks back on that outburst as a teachable moment. E-Rod told The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham that he learned a lot from the outcome of what he called the biggest game of his life.
"“I think I lost my mind for a second,” said Rodriguez. “I just felt like I had let everybody down. I was so angry. I was trying to throw my glove through the earth.“ … Probably one of the best games I had pitched all season. I felt great. (Rich Hill) was great, too. I learned a lot in that game, starting in the World Series for the first time. It was the biggest game of my life.”"
There was no harm done in the end since Boston rallied to win the game 9-6 but Rodriguez’ reaction had some questioning his maturity.
Is that really fair though? Rodriguez went on to point out that hitters throw their bat and helmets all the time. Why is it a big deal for a pitcher to show emotion? He was angry at himself for not locating his pitch and he unleashed that anger by slamming his glove on the ground.
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It would have been worse if he reacted that way to Vazquez’ error. E-Rod may have been ticked off that his catcher put him in that position facing Puig with two on but he never did anything to show up his teammate or berate him for the mistake. Rodriguez took responsibility for the damage and his reaction to it, which shows quite a bit of maturity for a 25-year old.
While poor sportsmanship certainly isn’t something to be encouraged, we should cut Rodriguez a little slack. Athletes are human beings prone to human emotions. It happens.
The bigger concern is that Rodriguez could have hurt himself throwing his glove with such force, as Carson Smith did earlier this year after he was pulled from a game. Maybe it’s a good thing that Rodriguez has pledged not to do it again.