The Boston Red Sox were cruising to a victory on Wednesday night before the clock struck midnight and their carriage turned back into a pumpkin.
Eduardo Rodriguez and the Red Sox seemed to have things signed, sealed, and ready to deliver in their clash against the Rockies last night. The lefty had been cruising through the Colorado lineup and would amass 10 K’s during his shift on Wednesday. Sadly, things wouldn’t have that storybook ending for E-Rod and his dreams would become a nightmare.
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Things seemed to be clicking for E-Rod as he was pitching as Dr. Jekyll for much of the night. He got touched up a bit in the 4th inning as he gave up a pair of runs. But then the 7th inning came around and Dr. Jekyll would transform into Mr. Hyde. A single to Ryan McMahon, a ground rule double to Tony Wolters, and Charlie Blackmon getting hit by a pitch would load the bases and end E-Rod’s night.
Matt Barnes was tapped to dig the Red Sox out of the hole that E-Rod had dug but it just wasn’t his night. Barnes is usually one of the more reliable relievers in the Boston Bullpen but he’s been adding a lot of miles to his arm lately and it showed. A 2-RBI single from Trevor Story would get the score to 5-4 and things would soon be tied following a Daniel Murphy ground out. And just like that, the game was level and Rodriguez would see 5 runs added to his stat sheet.
After a rocky start to the year, Rodriguez had settled in and became Boston’s most consistent pitcher. Last night proved what we all know about baseball and that it’s a game of opportunity and time. It was just a matter of time before Colorado got their opportunity to pounce and they did exactly that. E-Rod will go into his next start with a 4.89 ERA and will be looking to bounce back from that awful 7th inning.
A positive for Rodriguez going into his next start is his stellar K/BB ratio as he’s currently at 56/16. Eduardo is already 1/3 of the way to his career high in strikeouts and we’re only a quarter of the way through the season. And Wednesday night wasn’t a total throwaway either since Rodriguez struck out 10 batters and only had a single walk on the night.
There’s plenty to be happy about with the performance from Rodriguez on Wednesday and it very may have been a matter of not taking him out while the Red Sox were ahead. As usual, there is a method to Alex Cora’s madness and leaving Rodriguez in was part of his gameplan.
"“We’ve got all those lefties coming up, and there’s a trust factor,” Cora explained. “(He’s) a guy that we believe (in). He needs to go deep into the game. And the matchups.”"
It makes sense to try and extend Rodriguez as late into the game as possible just as we saw with Chris Sale the night before. But once he starts putting ducks on the pond I think it’s time to alter the plan. Having Barnes come in with just a runner or even two on the base paths is a hell of an easier night than bases loaded with no outs. This is one the very few times AC has missed with his strategy.
E-Rod was let off the hook as the Red Sox were able to capture the win in extra innings thanks to a Michael Chavis RBI single. He gets to retain his 4-2 record which doesn’t sound great by any means but considering how this season started it may as well be Cy Young worthy. He seems to have a focus like we haven’t seen before and I don’t envision that 7th inning hurting him mentally.
Eduardo Rodriguez has everything it takes to be a franchise pitcher. His biggest hindrance always seems to be when things get to him between the ears. Whether it’s straying away from a gameplan, having a bad outing, or letting a poor at-bat weigh heavy. He’s shown this season that he can move on from mishaps and if the Red Sox want a chance at repeating, they’ll need him to be able to learn from mistakes and forget them in an instance.